K-Studio's laidback villa in Greece adopts the ‘form follows emotion’ principle

With stone walls, chestnut pergolas and a pool garden, Villa Mandra in the Aleomandra hill of the Mykonos island embraces an opportunity for rest, reflection and exploration.

by Zohra Khan Published on : May 26, 2020

Two white volumes surrounded by a stone-walled garden, a living courtyard and an expansive pool give form to Villa Mandra – an exquisite six-bedroom house by Athens-based firm K-Studio. Nestled atop the hill of Aleomandra in the Greek island of Mykonos, the house frames idyllic views of its rocky terrain and the emerald waters of the Mediterranean sea.

Stone walls projecting off Villla Mandra merge with its rugged context | Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
Stone walls projecting off Villla Mandra merge with its rugged context Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

The studio was approached by a young couple who wanted a villa that would ‘allow guests to enjoy being outside throughout the day’. Architect Dimitris Karampatakis and his team sculpted a space that not only looked like a component of the site itself but also nurtured resilience against its ‘overwhelmingly intense’ climate.

Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
A view of the house Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

K-Studio envisioned the house inspired by the idea of ‘slow, laid back summer living’, acknowledging that it existed peacefully in nature. The architecture was composed with the intent that ‘form follows emotion, rather than function’, with every space becoming another opportunity for rest, reflection and exploration.

Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
Pool gardenImage Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

“The simple white volumes, straight stone walls and light pergola planes sit comfortably in the Cycladic landscape and the efficiency of their layout, centred around the courtyard living space, streamlines daily life,” said the studio's statement.

The living courtyard overlooks generous views of the stone garden and the sea beyond | Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
The living courtyard overlooks generous views of the stone garden and the sea beyond Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

Though the client wanted a large capacity accommodation within the house, the studio avoided bulky volumes that would have over-powered the landscape. Instead, they resorted to creating three humble structures: two small traditionally white-washed volumes and one made of stone dug from the site.

Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
The family's dining and living space Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

A courtyard topped by a lightweight chestnut pergola is woven with the interiors as a semi-open space. As the focal point of the house, it combines the family’s dining and living areas and orients itself to receive sweeping views of the pool, garden and the sea beyond. Light filters through the roof’s leafy canopy and renders surreal, dappled shadows on the enclosing lime-washed walls, the wooden furniture at the centre and the bare granite flooring of the courtyard.

Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
The play of light and shadow in the family's living courtyardImage Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

The architects used a glue-lam beam lattice for the pergola to ensure it not only sits lightly on the volumes but also supports its structural integrity and provides adequate shade to the space below.

Subtly dividing the social and private spaces, K-Studio has slotted bedrooms below the pool garden for people to enjoy the privacy they seek.

Indoor living | Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
Indoor living Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

The architects have employed a palette of traditional materials to create ‘an un-nostalgic architecture that bridges heritage and locality with contemporary life’. This includes hand-built stone walls, round-edged lime washed volumes, customised chestnut pergola and wooden furnishing that humbly tucks the house in its landscape.

  • Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
    BedroomImage Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann
  • Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
    A palette of greys, browns and blacks dominate the spaces Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann
  • Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
    Clean lines and patterns in the interiors Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

Informed by the humble Cycladic tradition, enriched by natural materiality and inspired by contemporary summer living, the project reflects a grounded aesthetic that makes a compelling statement without much buzz.

The villa nestled in its context | Villa Mandra | K-Studio | STIRworld
The villa nestled in its context Image Credit: Claus Brechenmacher and Reiner Baumann

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than three years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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