DESIGN - Combining dreams with reason: Villa Aquatica

On a rocky cliff on the island of Corfu, Greek architect Konstantinos Stathopoulos uses elements that trigger exploration and play, such as refracted swimming pool light, to recreate the idea of rebirth. He tells that by focusing on people, Villa Aquatica "renegotiates the importance of spirit over matter".

A house, in addition to being functional or a symbol of prosperity, needs to embrace the user and encourage him to ”travel”, providing opportunities to evolve.

Our urban culture is characterized by visual and informational noise in rapid and repetitive rhythms that seem to nurture our spiritual stagnation. Holidays today are not just about relaxing but can also be a source of reflection and spiritual cultivation.

“The challenge is to design a house that combines reason and dreams. On the one hand, it must have the functional character of a building, according to the rules of building, a static and bioclimatic approach, and on the other hand, it must be able to speak to the human soul and act as a springboard for spiritual development,” architect Konstantinos Stathopoulos tells

“By putting people at the center, Villa Aquatica renegotiates just that, the importance of spirit over matter,” he said.

Using elements that trigger exploration and play, Villa Aquatic constitutes a symbolic example in this direction - "a story of rebirth". In philosophy we often encounter the idea that every human being must die and be reborn many times during his life in order to evolve his character.

One of the first stages of our contact with the world takes place in a humid and quiet environment in the context of maternal pregnancy. Information from the outside world is filtered by the amniotic fluid, and sounds, rhythms and the intensity of light and shadows reveal a wonderful world of senses and colors. The womb is the first school of learning, where our senses develop.

The main idea of Villa Aquatica is based on the encouragement of the user through spatial stimuli in this direction, of the rebirth.

The plot is located in Corfu, elevated by the sea, with special morphology and views. The forces of the place, the salt and the wind lick the rocks and create cavities, tensions and reductions while the rich rainfall contributes to the intense vegetation.

The house is developed along the view and is partly underground to intensify its horizontal dimension. Concrete boulders-prisms evolve from the ground following the rocky pedestal of the plot, delimiting movements and views in a Doric character.

The existence of the plot right on a gentle turn of the country road gave rise to the first lines on paper. Two sharp prisms counter-respond to this curve, defining the entrance and creating a strict boundary to the road traffic. The view opens to the user, framed, by a cyclopean plate which covers the main areas.

The ground floor in the form of a free plan hosts the living room and the main room whereas in the lower level there are two guesthouses with an independent entrance.

The guesthouses offer a special architectural experience of "diving" as they are bathed in the refracted light of the swimming pool.

Conversely, a transparent elevator in the center of the composition serves a symbolic movement of "emersion" from the lower level (seabed) to the bright sunlight and air.

The elements of the composition are made of raw concrete, carved taking into account the views and the light, they acquire rhythm and measure, thus contributing to a separate choreography.

The whole composition is a proposal to renegotiate the concept of holiday residence and the importance that the wall blocks acquire in a particular place. Conciliation with the landscape is attempted through a dynamic and dialectic relationship with it.

With tools from nature itself, light, concrete (as a modern stone) and water a special architectural experience is being composed, offering spatial springboards to our senses.

Architecture firm: konstantinos stathopoulos | KRAK Architects

Architect: Konstantinos Stathopoulos

Development: C3 Chalikiopoulos Corfu Constructions

location: Corfu, Ionian Sea, Greece

©konstantinos stathopoulos|KRAK.