Vacation Garden With a Room / Alexandros Fotakis + Nicoletta Caputo
The Garden – The garden is located in one of the central valleys of the island, on the edge of a sparse oak forest. With minimal interventions, the spatial qualities and movements in the garden are organized as a large open-air house.
Small rest areas, clearings, steps, passages, and some new endemic fruit trees find their place during the construction. Some stone terraces are simply repaired and others are completely redefined using the materials already scattered about, continuing a centuries-old practice of organizing the landscape.
A new path traverses the garden following existing traces giving mostly directions, with the use of punctual elements, instead of laying a continuous surface.
The room – The room keeps the imprint of a pre-existing stable and its relationship with the landscape. It is organized by proposing solutions for the basic needs of a simple living in the countryside for a family during its holidays with the use of specific architectural devices: A raised bed-storage, a marble sink-window, a hearth-kitchen counter, and an extendible bathroom.
The new volume acts as a pause in the continuity of the terraces, defining two new outdoor spaces with different spatial qualities, relationships with the landscape, orientations, and shading from the surrounding oaks. Its expression follows the local architectural language as a basis, enriching it with contemporary elements.
The works – The final result is a product of the on-site collaborative conception of the architects with the local craftsmen. Local material, construction practices, and the utilization of “spolia” is used. The remnants of one construction phase are incorporated and become design solutions for the next. Common solutions that characterize the local construction culture become carriers of assimilation of materials, ideas, and solutions that come from further afield.
To ensure consistency, a charter was developed during the whole process of construction, defining the basic ethical framework for the various choices during the works. It consisted of a series of simple design rules allowing for details to develop on-site, as a result of the joint intelligence of the architect and craftsman, establishing the character of the project and the role of the architect-builder during the on-site development of the project.