Athens-based studio En Route Architects designed the Parallel House for a secluded site surrounded by nature on the Greek island of Kea. The plot’s sloping topography informed the design of a building that is submerged in the earth on one side and is oriented parallel to the sea to make the most of the views.
The summer house – placed parallel to the view of the sea – is organized as a sequence of rooms, ranging from outdoor to partially covered to completely enclosed spaces. These volumes create cinematic frames of the surrounding landscape, the Aegean Sea and neighboring islands. Due to the steep topography, the backside of the house is submerged within the landscape, while its front is exposed entirely towards the view. All support functions of the house are placed along the back wall allowing for unobstructed movement and views within the house and towards the landscape.
The use of exposed concrete as a structural and visual frame is intended as a contemporary interpretation of a traditional stone house. This reinterpretation of traditional building techniques is also related to the integration of active and passive techniques for heating, cooling and energy generation. Such techniques thereby allow for a high degree of energy efficiency and independence.
A recessed corridor at the back of the house captures prevailing winds enabling cross ventilation and keeping the house cool throughout the year. The roof of the house is used to collect rainwater in submerged tanks that is re-used in the house as filtered water. Solar panels hidden in the landscape produce sufficient energy in order to keep the house running off the grid.
The Parallel House was built as a strong and yet minimal contrast to its surrounding landscape. Through this contrast and the embedding of hidden principles, the focus is laid upon the maximum experience of the landscape itself.