While studying archaeology in the 1970s I wrote a thesis: Greek Residential Buildings in Hellenistic times. It was my first encounter with the subject of how to build the optimal home in the south.
It seemed obvious that those who never were satisfied with the mediocre concerning every aspect of life, who invented theatre and the tragedy, philosophy and art, the sciences, economy and democracy, sports and the art of waging a successful war -
- also created the idea that we should always aim for the best possible.
That just the best was hardly good enough.
It seems obvious that those who were aiming for the 'aristo' - the highest in every aspect - would not live in 'ordinary' accommodation like the average European does.
Even simple homes would tell about the inhabitant's faculty.
Let’s start with some basics. Important for us, for example, is how to locate a house on a certain property.
Either nestling between the olives -
- or on the edge of a steep slope.
To study not only the climate of the location -
- but also the micro climate of the plot.
Where does the breeze come from, if any, in summer?
How do we catch it and let it flow through the rooms?
From where do the winds come in the course of the seasons?
How do we protect against the violent winter storms?
Where will the early or late shadows be?
Where and when does the sun rise and set on the horizon during the course of the year?
I want the windows of the sleeping rooms catching the early light -
- and the French doors of the kitchen -
- facing the golden west.
I want to protect us against the rays of the hot summer sun at noon -
- and to catch them -
- during a sunny winter's day.
To be protected against the heat in summer -
- and the cold in winter.
To make a slight movement of air possible.
If all the world seems to stand still in August, when the mercury won't drop below 39C -
- then the green surroundings of the house, our gardens -
- the aromatic moisture, the shadow of plants become key.
The house has to be properly built .
The walls insulated; not just roof and roof terrace.
It has to be placed properly on the plot.
Taking into account all aspects of climate as I have mentioned above.
When building, we try to exploit the very best of the situation.
It's the location that shapes the house, not the other way round.
We like to stretch our buildings into the views.
Every room features the main views!