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EX­CA­VA­TION MA­TE­RIAL FROM A HILL-HUG­GING PROJECT IN CRETE IS USED TO RE­STORE A SCARRED TER­RAIN

Azure - - CONTENTS - WORDS _Danny Si­nop­oli

With rare ex­cep­tions, con­struc­tion projects are al­most al­ways im­po­si­tions on their phys­i­cal sur­round­ings. File Ring House, a strik­ing is­land res­i­dence by deca-ar­chi­tec­ture on the south­ern coast of Crete, squarely among the anom­alies.

The low-slung, horse­shoe-shaped build­ing not only hugs its hill­side set­ting, vir­tu­ally dis­ap­pear­ing into the arid, sandy slope, but the ma­te­rial ex­ca­vated dur­ing con­struc­tion was used to re­store some of the site’s orig­i­nal to­pog­ra­phy, which had been marred by road­work and other hu­man in­cur­sions. Prior to the home’s con­struc­tion, seeds had also been col­lected from na­tive flora and then cul­ti­vated in a green­house to grow a fresh sup­ply, which was sown over the re­paired land­scape to cre­ate new swaths of plants.

The house it­self is made of rough stone and un­treated wood, the en­ve­lope capped with con­crete beams that pro­vide an un­ob­tru­sive roofline, cre­ate shaded ar­eas and har­bour so­lar col­lec­tion pan­els.

Ac­cord­ing to the ar­chi­tects, two guest houses are also planned for the site. It’s safe to as­sume that they will be just as thought­ful – and dis­creet – as their larger fore­bear. deca.gr

Punc­tu­ated by open­ings of var­i­ous sizes, the house’s curvy walls are made of stone rub­ble ex­tracted from the site. Topped with a con­crete roof, the U-shaped build­ing wraps around an in­ner gar­den con­tain­ing cit­rus trees and ed­i­ble plants. The hill­side on which the house sits slopes dra­mat­i­cally to the Mediter­ranean Sea. The stark, arid site is just over 300 kilo­me­tres from the Sa­hara Desert. Swaths of na­tive shrub­bery dot the re­stored land­scape, which had been carved up by roadways.

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