Home in the Arms of an Olive Tree in Greece Wins International Architectural Award

The summer home designed by architect Eva Sopeoglou won the prize in the “Best first new architect” category in the annual awards of the international architectural review “Structures”.

According to an Athens Voice report, the house design gives residents the feeling that they are in the arms of a huge olive tree, an idea that is in line with landscapes in Greece. The house is situated in Sithonia, northern Greece, in a plot with an olive grove overlooking the sea and Mount Athos.

The owners asked for a small residence with low maintenance costs as they plan to stay there only in the summer. Τhe most striking feature is the perforated metal panel that surrounds the building. Across the panel, small openings imitate the leaves of the olive tree, so delicate that looks like someone has woven metal.

For the design and manufacturing, Sopeoglou used digital CAD / CAM technology: “First you make your design in CAD environment and then use the special machines that have the ability to put the computer imprint on the metal. Most perforated plates are two-dimensional, but with this technology the casing had three dimensions. It is not simply a drilled sheet, it has texture, like cloth.”

“In our mind a house is an inner space. But this summer home is not inhabited all year round,” Sopeoglou told the Athens Voice. “So, I wanted to show what constitutes the research in my thesis: an interior that gives the feeling of being outside. You feel that you dwell outside. We have alienated the exterior of our buildings. All the basic conditions of life, such as sleep or work, take place indoors. We have forgotten the joy of being in the countryside. I try so that everything in my work has an ecological approach. Buildings should be designed not only as interiors, alienated from their environment. This house, therefore, serves as an escape from the buildings and the city.”

“Before the house was built, in its place was only the shadow of the olive tree. Essentially we made this shadow habitable: the central corridor of the building is in line with the olive tree, which thus forms part of the blueprint. In other words, the building reflects the olive ‘.

The Greek architect completed her architectural studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, then went for postgraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and currently finishes her PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. She works as a lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.