Designed as an underground hideaway emerging from the trees, the Secret Garden House by Scapearchitecture settles within Faragas, on the southwest part of Paros island in Greece. Instead of yet another white dot on the map, the residence is integrated into the slope, embracing nature, rather than displacing it, and establishes a new paradigm of symbiotic relationship with its environment.
A small olive grove at the southern part and a cluster of pine trees to the east mark the property’s boundaries and define the available area for the house. A gently stepped pathway leads from the carport at the southwestern corner of the plot to the main outdoor living area, set at the highest part of the site. Living and dining areas are found underneath a rectangular, elongated shading pergola, along with a fully equipped kitchen, a sunbathing deck and a shallow pond, enhancing the microclimate during the hot summer months.
The main house is submerged lower into the slope and in front of the outdoor living area. It is designed as a cave building, taking advantage of the built area bonus allowed by the Greek new building code. Accessible from a passageway that cuts through the existing olive grove, it is connected to the outdoor living area via a 2m wide stepped ventilation opening.
Wide-span glass panels slide into the walls providing effective cross ventilation, while turning the residence into an open sheltered space unified with the grove in front of it. The residence’s indoor areas include an open plan kitchen, living room, two yacht-style guest bedrooms, one master bedroom with en-suite bathroom and all required amenities. Patios provide added cross ventilation, one of them acting as the outdoor shower area of the master bathroom. The evergreen plants were mostly selected from local flora species, with low irrigation requirements, displaying a continuously transforming colour palette throughout the year. The pathways across the property are constructed of earthy, porous materials, which merge visually with the ground, keeping their presence as discreet as possible. Preserving and partially restoring the natural slope with the architecture in it, created a liberating gesture for the residential experience.
Laying low under the trees, in line with the slope, the house encourages its occupants to selectively detach from the cosmopolitan frenzy of the island. In the end, that’s what the secret garden house is about: a small private hideaway in a secret garden, where its occupants can relax and rediscover their inner self, enjoying the pure essence of living in the Cycladic landscape.
Architectural Design: Scapearchitecture Project Architects: George Atsalakis - Stavroula Christofilopoulou
Landscape Design: Elandscape / H. Pangalou&Associate Landscape Architects