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Greek island home by Lydia Xynogala fans out to maximise sea views

Staggering a series of parallel spaces, architect and Columbia University professor Lydia Xynogala has created a hillside home on Skiathos where rooms have secluded terraces facing the ocean.

Xynogala built the House in Achladies on a slope along the Greek island’s Aegean coast, using retaining walls to compose the backbone of the home’s three sections.

House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala

Access is at the highest elevation, via a set of stairs within a narrow corridor that descend into the building.

House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala

The larger volumes step downwards towards the water in a sequence of planes, fanning out to offer almost every room a seascape.

House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala

To one side of the entranceway, the central volume on the triangular site houses a communal kitchen, dining area and lounge.

On the other side are two guest bedrooms: one facing up the hill and the other pointed towards the ocean.


House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala

The master bedroom occupies the lowest volume, with ensuite facilities aligned down the centre of the room behind the bed.

“Sliding doors through the double walls mark the passage from one space to the next,” said Xynogala, who serves as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP).

House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala

“The notion of a ‘cut’ through the solid walls is emphasised by the grey marble of the thresholds,” she added.

The three main sections are offset so that each has its own outdoor terrace, and so none are overlooked by the others.

House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala


The architect further omitted openings on the sides of the house facing the road and a neighbouring property.

Glass doors offer views of the sea to the south, and smaller windows looking north towards the hillside provide ample light and air circulation to every room.

House in Achladies by Lydia Xynogala

“The concept of ‘aggregate’ was a generator of form and selection of materials,” said the architect. “Aggregation of volumes, aggregate in the raw concrete walls, in the terrazzo floor, roofs filled with gravel and plants.”

Other coastal homes in Greece include a home made of staggered blocks, and a house offering framed views of the Ionian Sea.

Photography is by Yiorgis Yerolymbos.

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