Architects: Polytia Armos
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
Architects: Nikos Mesaritis, Polytia Armos
Cost: 1,000,000 Euro
Photographs: Courtesy of polytia armos
From the architect. The four members’ family residence is situated in the city of Nicosia on a low hill. The sloping plot provides unobstructed view to the Pentadaktilos mountain to the north and overlooks the east side of the city.
The building is deployed on three levels in order to better adapt to the sloping plot on the one hand and to facilitate the functional structure of the residence on the other. All the secondary/utility rooms and the parking spaces are located on the lower level; the living space and the kitchen are on the middle floor, which is leveled to the entrance of the building, whereas all the bedrooms and a multi-use office room are situated on the upper floor.
The layout of the plan is divided in three main zones, all parallel to the slope, on the east-west axis. The south zone is found only on the upper floor and it hosts the children’s bedrooms while its volume covers the main entrance. The main living room and the dining space are located in the intermediate zone which is vertically extended to the roof from where abundant sun light enters through a skylight. The kitchen and an integrated secondary living room are found in the north zone.
Furthermore, a semi-outdoor lounge space overlooking the pool area with view to the mountain is situated in the north zone. The decision to “turn” the house towards the north, for better adjustment to the sloping plot and to take full advantage of the views, determined the final layout of the building which is oriented with its backside on the north entrance.
One is pleasantly surprised when entering the residence. A huge transparent surface, similar to a cinema projection screen, “brings” all the view of the external environment in the house opening the residence to the outside. In this way the transition from the outside to the inside of the house drastically changes the appearance of the exterior of the building and the domination of walls which function as vertical screens.
As one enters and approaches the windows on the north side the view is gradually revealed. At the same time the vertical connection between the second and third level is also revealed, whereas the view of the sky -through the roof and the internal windows of the bedrooms– gives the illusion of an urban street with two storey buildings.
The entrance of the composition, with its high ceiling is an architectural element with multiple uses. It is of central importance to the composition as it gives brightness to the bedrooms allowing them to be an integral part of the residence, and it connects both visually and functionally the whole residence. Apart from the furniture, in the main living room there is a large file place on the east side and the semi-circular staircase located centrally.
Due to the intense and prolonged summer in Cyprus the use of abundant sun light entering from the north and the dispersion of light flowing in the house from the roof creates a nice ambiance. Through these elements the temperature and the intensity of the sun light are properly controlled.
On the outside the mass of the building expresses the threefold composition of the layout. The openings on the south facade are limited in number whereas on the north side they are more and larger. The use of Cyprus stones on the south façade, in contrast to the rest surfaces made from exposed concrete and from plain plaster, renders the “screen” concept of the composition through the use of vertical walls.