Ingeniously balancing openness and privacy, the cave-inspired design of this unique residence organises its living spaces around a submerged courtyard covered with a latticed roof.
The tiered form of PEN IV residence gently follows the inclining topography of a plot on Antiparos’ west coast, overlooking a stunning set of three beaches and a glen where local junipers and other plants grow. Lacking any natural protection from the elements, the residence was submerged to create an 84-square-meter sheltered courtyard, accessed via a dramatic staircase that descends from the ground level down into the house. All the living and sleeping areas are organised around this well-protected shady space, which can also be used as an exterior living room and dining area. Latticed patterns of light are cast into the courtyard and the rooms, created by the openings on the roof and the walls that filter natural light—adding texture and rhythm to the otherwise minimal design of this exceptional residence designed by one of Switzerland’s leading architecture firms.
The house is designed by award-winning Zurich-based AFGH Architects, a studio with a remarkable record in creating residential spaces that feel natural and organic. For PEN IV, the architects have created a continuous cavernous space that provides ample shade and ventilation during the summer months, and deploys different degrees of openness in relation to the surrounding landscape towards east, south and west. The villa’s main living areas can be separated from the courtyard and west-facing terrace via large glass sliding walls; when open, the glass walls create a seamless living experience that takes full advantage of the mild Cycladic climate and surrounding nature. An L-shaped pool envelops the westpointing corner of the villa, and its terrace offers 270-degree views of the sea and the coastline. The overall living experience at PEN IV is one of multiple layers, interplaying levels and versatile living, enabling a family or group of guests to occupy multiple parts of the residence in privacy at any given time. All bedrooms and living spaces are on the ground floor, and auxiliary spaces have been organised in the basement.
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