A House with Four Gardens, Nicosia

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Facades. From Top to Bottom: North, West, South, East

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PROJECT: Private house with four miniature gardens in Nicosia

PLACE/TIME: Nicosia, Cyprus, 2015

SIZE: 170 sq.m.

STATUS: Construction

DESIGN TEAM: Christiana Ioannou,  Christos Papastergiou

CONSULTANTS: Nikos Kalathas civil eng., Christos Topouzis (eplan) electrical eng., Prokopis Polydorou (polypro) mechanical eng.

COLLABORATORS: Christiana Pitsillidou, Andromachi Stylianou

Many thanks to: Adonis Kleanthous architect, Panayiotis Pieridis architect, Yiorgos Hadjichristou architect,   Stelios Makrides   for their valuable advices and comments

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A house with four secret gardens.

The idea of the secret garden as part of the domestic space can be found in traditional architecture in Cyprus, and especially in Nicosia, where the commissioned private house is located.

Design is based on the idea of the secret garden(s) as part of the domestic life, and in close relevance to the daily domestic routine. Within a 16 by 16 metres box, the house includes the necessary living spaces for a small family: a living room, a kitchen, three bedrooms, and a small play space. At the same time it also includes fragments of nature, which are considered equally important, in the form of four small gardens: three open ones that form buffer zones in between the interior space and the periphery of the exterior wall and one interior garden at the centre of the house. The project also includes the development of a fifth garden in the future on the site where the house sits.

The interior area, which is 150 square metres, can be extended to the exterior gardens bounded by the peripheral wall. The family appreciates the close contact with different bits of nature, however the gardens at different parts of the house also help in practical everyday needs, such for sun filtering, temperature control and airflow control. The different orientation of each garden is selected to provide comfort all around the year. The south garden blocks the sun during the summer months and offers a pleasure exterior space during the winter months. The north garden offers access to the pleasant northwestern wind during the summer months. The east garden filters the pleasant morning sun that infiltrates the bedrooms and provide room for protected extension of the rooms to the exterior . The interior garden lies at the centre of the house and is lighted by a skylight above it. It helps in separating the large open living space in smaller locations and to regulate circulation in the house.

The house inside the rectangular boundary is designed in a binary relationship with the garden outside the rectangular. Views that are generated from within the house are directed towards specific spots where new plants will grow and various elements are planned to be installed in the site, like a sand-pit, a small rain-water pit, a small artificial hill, a fourni and a small pavilion.  Although seemingly introverted, the house acts as a views generator towards the different parts of the site, with the help of the frames on the exterior wall of the house: the northern part frames views towards the main entrance, the southern part towards the exterior courtyard and the large tree and the eastern part towards the small orchard garden.

Text in German:

Die Idee des eingeschlossenen oder „geheimen“ Gartens als Teil des Wohnbereichs ist in der tra­ditionellen zyprischen Architektur gängig, ge­rade auch in Nikosia, wo unser „Erstes Haus“ entstanden ist. Gartenhöfe sollten daher einen selbstverständlichen Teil des häuslichen Lebens bilden, eng an die alltäglichen Abläufe gebunden. Die dafür nötigen Räume – Wohnzimmer, Küche, drei Schlaf- und ein kleines Spielzimmer – enthält ein Quader von 16 x 16 x 5 Metern Kantenlänge.

Die drei hinter der äußeren Mauer angeordenten Gärten und der eine im Zentrum des Grundrisses angeordnete Freiraum sind nicht nur Übergangsräume zwischen Innen und Außen, Familienleben und Öffentlichkeit, sondern haben auch ganz praktische, alltägliche Funktionen wie die, das Sonnenlicht zu filtern, Temperaturschwankungen zu dämpfen und die Belüftung zu verbessern. Sie dienen aber auch als „Brutkästen“, um Pflanzen im örtlichen Klima zu testen, bevor sie in der Umgebung des Hauses angebaut werden sollen.

Für den Bau haben wir auf vor Ort produzierte Materialien zurückgegriffen wie Betonwerk­steine und weiße Lüftungsziegel. Tischler- und Schlosserarbeiten wurden von ortsansässigen Handwerkern ausgeführt.

Übersetzung aus dem Englischen: ub (from Bauwelt magazine)

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Awards | Publications | Exhibitions:

Shortlisted at the Bauwelt-Preis

Published at  Bauwelt magazine 1.2019

Selected to participate at the 9th Biennale of Young Greek Architects, Hellenic Institute of Architecture, Athens GR [2018]

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General plan of the house with the four interior gardens and the proposed garden on the wider site

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Construction Details

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Model of the house

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plan

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roof plan

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sections

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construction details

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construction details