In an unspoiled natural Mediterranean landscape with a steep and rich relief with unrestricted sea views, we were invited to design a boutique hotel of 100 beds.
The brief was the creation of a suite hotel for sophisticated guests, with private courtyards and pools. Nevertheless, ample public spaces have been designed to provide the choice for socialization.
Our preoccupation was to preserve the beauty and serenity of the landscape. We decided to create a Greek village, with low construction and integration of buildings into the environment. Our inspiration was the typical traditional stone construction of the Greek countryside, the so-called “xerolithia” (Xero + lithos = dry + stone). It used to be built by farmers on steep slopes, to hold the ground and create flat surfaces for crops.
We designed two retaining walls of “xerolithia” on the lower level of the plot, aligned with the hills’ contour lines; the first wall supports the private terraces, and the second forms the facade of the cave suites. The pools are deployed in the form of a rural cistern, among the canopies of olive trees that constitute the natural divider between terraces. The buildings are hidden under the ground and the “xerolithia” integrates them with the landscape.
The rest of the settlement deploys in cubic forms with its arrangement following the natural relief as in traditional villages. Access to the complex is through a castle gate-shaped entrance, that drives into a welcoming atrium, while high walls encircle the communal buildings. Our reference was the traditional island settlements that were built on steep hills and were walled off, for protection from pirates. The materials of the walls are traditional stonework and rough plaster.
The planted roofs "erase" the boundaries of the buildings and the volumes are being absorbed by the landscape.