Aloni, located on the Greek island of Antiparos, is a house firmly of its site. It is a dwelling that responds to the shape of the land and to the vernacular rural domestication techniques that shaped the raw ‘Cycladic island’ landscape.
In the past, dry-rubble stone walls domesticated the land for agricultural purposes and were the most prominent man-made interventions in the landscape. The walls retained earth and transformed a steep topography into a series of arable plateaus. Today, the Cycladic islands are being reshaped by a very different force: the demand for holiday homes. The design uses the precedent of earth-retaining stone walls to create an artificial landscape that is both rural and domestic in use.
The site is a natural saddle where two slopes meet. In the North-South axis the slope rises between two hills while in the East-West axis the slope drops, opening to the sea views. Two long stone walls bridge the hills allowing the house to nestle in the space within while maintaining the continuity of the landscape which flows over it. This simple strategy blurs the edges of the house and makes its mass imperceptible within the broader skyline of the island.
The name of the house itself, Aloni, refers to the remains of a crop-harvesting circle that was found and preserved as part of the agricultural past of the site.
The terraced Landscape of the Aegean Islands
The landscapes of the Aegean islands are defined by endless terraces that have been built throughout the centuries, in order to create flat land that is suitable for agricultural production. These terraces are supported by stone walls built without any sort of mortar, supported only by gravity and friction. They transform the topography into outrageously beautiful constructs that resemble abstract architectural models.
The stone walls have been built painstakingly by hand. Each generation left a legacy to the next, a deep understanding of the resources that they needed to manage: Water was scarce and so was fertile land. Each terrace that they built had to make sure that water flowed freely without waste. The rocky barren landscape was gradually transformed to territories that could support the nutrition of growing populations.
Aloni uses the precedent of the earth-retaining stone walls to create an artificial landscape that is both rural and domestic in use.
The design of ‘Aloni’ is a very specific response to the particular topography of the site and its rural setting. Basically, the site is a natural saddle where two slopes meet. In the North-South axis the slope rises towards two hills while in the East-West axis the slope drops, opening to the sea views. We built two long stone walls to bridge the hills and allow the house to nestle in the space within while maintaining the continuity of the landscape which flows over it. This simple strategy blurred the edges of the house and makes its mass imperceptible within the broader skyline of the island. The main idea was to create an artificial landscape where the rural and the domestic co-exist.
Piran Days of Architecture
In conjunction with the 27th International Architectural Conference “Piran Days of Architecture” that took place in Piran, in 2009, the international jury for the Piranesi Award announced the Aloni House in Antiparos as the winning project. The judges praised how the traditional agricultural technique of stone retaining terrace walls becomes the spring board for transforming this domestic structure into a landscape intervention.
Architectural Awards 2008
The Aloni house was distinguished and commended by the Hellenic Institute of Architecture, in 2008. The institution of Architectural Awards is established by the greek architectural community and takes place every four years. Back in 2008, the event and exhibition were held in Benaki Museum.
100 Contemporary Houses
The Aloni house in Antiparos has been featured in the 100 of the most beautiful and pioneering houses of the past two decades within a book entitled “100 Contemporary Houses”, published by Taschen. This is about a dependable global digest of the nuances, challenges, and opportunities of turning all the emotional and practical requirements of “home” into a constructed actuality.
Elemental Living, a book published by Phaidon, presents 60 works of architecture from across the 20th and 21st centuries that have a special relationship with the natural world. Aloni has been selected among them, as a project designed to be almost indistinguishable from the natural landscape and designed using materials and forms found in the natural landscape.
80th Anniversary of L' Architetcure d' aujourd'hui
‘L’ Architetcure d’ aujourd’hui’ is the oldest French architecture magazine created in 1930 by André Bloc with the complicity of Le Corbusier. Aloni house was included as part of the issue published for its 80th anniversary.
1000x European Architecture
Projects from all parts of the continent have been selected to create a representative overview of the latest European architecture. Aloni was included as part of small creative and surprising buildings across southern Europe. The 1000 buildings featured, of all types and sizes, are a comprehensive overview of how differently architects and building owners have reacted to the challenges in the current context of the building boom, financial crisis and economic recovery.
What's Up: 15 Young European Architects
The ‘Aloni’ house, has been published in ‘What’s Up: 15 Young European Architects’, as a selected project of DECA architecture, considered as a fully representive one for the office back in 2012. WHAT’S UP? is mostly a call to attention. An invitation to look at what is happening in the European architectural scene. The book was designed to arouse curiosity and stimulate architectural critique by channeling it towards the results achieved by young generations of designers.
C3: Land in tune, Bargains to Valuables, Malik Architecture
Aloni was included in the 332th issue if C3 Magazine: ‘Land in tune, Bargains to Valuables, Malik Architecture’, which highlights architecture’s response to the landscape and topography, bringing discourse and practice back to a sense of heuristic completeness by recovering architecture’s full repertoire of morphological and material alternatives.
Aloni was included in the Piranesi Magazine, the beginning of which is associated with the Piran Days of Architecture, an international architectural symposium, in which Aloni was awarded back in 2009. The judges praised how the traditional agricultural technique of stone retaining terrace walls becomes the spring board for transforming this domestic structure into a landscape intervention.
MARK, Another Architecture
Aloni house was published in the 29th issue of Mark Magazine, as part of the cross section editorial. Mark has been a platform for the practice and perception of architecture at the dawn of the third millennium.
The Aloni house, in Antiparos was included in HÄUSER, a bimonthly published magazine for modern architecture and interior design, originating from Belgium.
dezeen: "This villa by Athens firm decaArchitecture is one of a collection of 24 to be introduced to the Greek island of Antiparos by Athens developers Oliaros."
Aloni is one of seven already completed as part of Antiaros Design Properties, a development split over four sites that includes designs from Harry Gugger Studio and Atelier Bow-Wow. This villa has a roof supported on two parallel stone walls with the surrounding terrain continuing over it.
designboom: "decaArchitecture designs 'aloni' residence from repurposed agricultural stone retaining walls"
greece-based firm decaArchitecture repurposes dry-rubble stone walls used to domesticate agricultural land on the greek island of antiparos. the result is a residential project entitled ‘aloni.’ in the past, these prominent man-made interventions in the landscape served to transform a steep topography into a series of arable plateaus. today, the cycladic islands are being reshaped by a very different force: the demand for holiday homes. decaArchitecture preserves and utilizes these ruinous stone retaining walls to create an artificial landscape that is programatically both agricultural and residential. while the horizontal roof of the house bridges a natural saddle, apertures allow the sloping land to bleed into the conditioned interior space.
Inhabitat: "Beautiful Underground Aloni House Blends in With The Earth"
This stunning underground home by Deca Architecture utilizes a natural palette of materials to maintain a low profile while complementing the serene Mediterranean landscape that surrounds it. Situated in a small valley with views of the coast, the Aloni house consists of two stone walls bridged by a beautiful green roof that spans two adjacent slopes. The home takes advantage of rustic materials that maximize energy efficiency while allowing the house to blend in with the rugged terrain of Greece’s Antiparos Island.
ARCHITEKTUR: "Aloni House von decaARCHITECTURE auf der Insel Antiparos in Griechenland"
decaARCHITECTURE , ein griechisches Architekturbüro, hat das Aloni House auf der griechischen Insel Antiparos entworfen. Diese einzigartige Residenz profitiert von rustikalen, energieeffizienten Materialien, die es dem Haus ermöglichen, sich in das raue Gelände der ruhigen mediterranen Landschaft, in der es eingebettet ist, einzufügen.
Aloni@The Greek Foundation
The design of ‘Aloni’ by decaARCHITECTURE is a dual response to the particular topography of its site and to the rural domestication techniques that in the past shaped the raw ‘Cycladic island’ landscape. In the past, dry-rubble stone walls domesticated the land for agricultural purposes and were the most prominent man-made interventions in the landscape.
Aloni@The Architectural Review
[COMMENDATION AR HOUSE 2010] Deca Architecture’s hidden dwelling is a riposte to the archipelago’s vulgar overdevelopment. Photography by Julia Klimi and Erieta Attali. In yesteryear a postcard proclaiming ‘a summer cruising around the Aegean’ would read as elegant, a little boastful, but certainly a single entendre. And yet today it could seem seamy; especially if postmarked Mykonos, the renowned ‘gay island’, which markets itself on casual carnality.
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Deca Architecture has designed holiday homes on the island of Antiparos in Greece in which integration with the landscape becomes mimetic architecture: a dry wall construction, which takes advantage of the protection offered by the hills and the green roof of Mediterranean scrub.