by Jerry ElengicalFeb 19, 2022
Hosting a combined 600 sqm of area spread out over three levels along a steeply sloping site on a hillside, House 27 by Lambrianou Koutsolambros Architects (LK Architects) exudes a subtle yet eye-catching charm befitting its picturesque setting. Located near the village of Tala, in the nation of Cyprus, the structure engages in a dialogue with its context, while its façade, clad in retractable aluminium panels, regulates solar gain for inhabitants through minute perforations which form patterns of forest-like images across its exterior. The delicate veins on their surfaces reference the surrounding vegetation on site, crafting an interplay between artificial and natural that is contrasted by the bold geometric massing of the residential design.
Approached via a sloped road along the hillside, the residence’s ground floor hosts a two-car garage alongside a double-height lobby, two bedrooms, and a shaded terrace that extends into a gently curving outdoor pool design. Adjacent to the terrace is the home’s ‘island’ study which is also situated in the middle of the west-facing pool, offering a secluded haven of calm amid the serene water. From here, a winding, serpentine path runs along the perimeter of the pool towards a gazebo-esque sit-out surrounded by a landscape design featuring a water body along with indigenous plants that shield it from prying eyes. According to the architects the use of native species was a conscious choice to allow the garden to fuse with its natural setting over time.
LK Architects mentions in an official statement: “Creating a dialogue with nature was an elemental part of the design, in conjunction with bioclimatic solutions. Hence, we made use of prevailing western winds to reduce the temperature through the shaded garden, the pond, and again over the main pool as well as a waterfall from a pond located on the floor above. The air finally exits the building at the top of the double volume entrance area.” Interlocked rectilinear and trapezoidal spaces define the layout of the ground floor, which also accommodates a theatre and a wine cellar towards the opposing eastern end of the plan. At the heart of the central lobby is a folded plate staircase with frameless glass railings that provide the primary means of vertical circulation in the plan.
The floor above contains most of the main functional spaces including the living, dining, and kitchen areas - all screened by the retractable aluminium cladding that is the highlight of the façade design. Installed to maintain privacy and filter excess sunlight, the system of panels has been painted to complement the residence’s other exterior walls. When pulled away by means of the automated retraction mechanism, the building’s appearance undergoes a drastic change - due to the solid massing of the panels giving way to large expanses of glass which open up the interior spaces to scintillating vistas of the nearby landscape.
"One gets the perception of a constantly moving façade that follows the sun. The perforated pattern on the panels was created through the digitisation of a forest image, meticulously tested to provide maximum shade while internally providing the transparency of a green trellis,” share the architects. Neutral tones are interjected by bursts of earthy wood and vegetation on the building’s exterior, with the darker cladding of the lower volumes giving way to the delicate light materiality of the retractable aluminium panels as well as reflective white walls - a staple feature of architecture in the Mediterranean region.
Rooms for staff have also been placed on the first floor, while a pair of terraces - one with a pool of its own - fan out from either side of the main living space in the centre of the plan. On the second and topmost floor is the huge master suite, complete with a luxurious walk-in closet, two bathrooms, and a sunken terrace with a landscaped garden. Placed at the end of the structure’s main cuboidal volume, which projects forward from the rest of the massing, this outdoor space crowns the entire project as a tranquil retreat complemented by the stunning surroundings on view below.
Sleek, modern furnishings and fittings define the interior design, which thrives on elegant simplicity, contrasted by a few elaborate flourishes that yield mixed results. However, all this pales in the face of the breathtaking viewpoints available from the various terraces incorporated into the residential architecture. The design also employs automation to control the home’s various functions while optimising them for energy efficiency. Furthermore, LK Architects also implemented waste and water management systems that allow treated water to be reused in the ponds and to irrigate nearby plants.
LK Architects’ intervention has crafted a sparkling monument of luxury design within the residential sphere, employing the benefits of modern technology to optimise thermal comfort and efficiency while incorporating clever planning methods that allow users to experience all the formerly inaccessible nooks and crannies of a striking hillside plot.