skopelos island



private, three detached houses & landscaping


three new homes perched over the harbour

view north from terrace to sea


the site in woodland viewed from a distance

The site sits high in woodland overlooking the town and main harbour.

skopelos harbour viewed from the boat on arrival
aerial photo of the site from drone

A key challenge was the relatively steep slope.

A series of terraces have been cut to create access, private gardens and open views to the harbour

the stone path and the landscape looking east

site plan drawing


stone facades and timber balcony
slate paving to entrance path with stone retaining wall and lavender
handworked slate tiles to roof with traditional carrot chimney detail
view to the harbour framed by the landscape
the swimming pool with house 2 in the background

The houses face north over the main harbour.

diagram of the location of the house on the island

balcony with view to harbour and sea
living and dining area with balcony and sea beyond

bathroom with concrete counter and mosaic wet area
bathroom wet area with view
local stone cladding to facade and steps

Hand-mixed Plaster

The plaster to the internal walls is naturally breathable, helping improve indoor air quality and prevent the build up of mould or dampness.

This is because traditional lime plasters are hygroscopic, which helps to regulate internal humidity by absorbing high concentrations of moisture in the air, and then releasing this on dryer spells.

The plaster has been prepared in the traditional way on site by hand-mixing:

- 2 parts white marble dust
- 1 part lime
- small part white cement

The marble dust is used as a filler, and sourced from waste material.

Lime and gypsum have been used as binders in historical mortars since ancient times.

The cement is used to help the mixture set, and includes limestone, clay and gypsum amongst its ingredients.

Being handmade plaster, throughout history in different regions others have experimented with ingredients such as rye flour, rice gluten, burnt gypsum, pork lard, curdled milk, fig juice, albumen, and malt to fatten the plaster, retard its setting and to regulate shrinking and cracking.

House 2 Living Room with patari

Exposed timber balconies and roofs are constructed from local sweet chestnut.

detail of house 2 stair

The houses are cut into the hillside rock

The houses are cut into the hillside rock.

Landscaping and materials

House 3 viewed in the landscape
the stone path and detailing viewed from above
detail of stone elevation with brick cornice and bougainvillea
quince fruit hanging on the tree
detail of handcut slate roof
lavender and a young pine tree
detail of terrace corner from above

Landscaping has been a major component of the project, creating terraces, access roads and paths to link the houses.

Traditional brick cornices, timber lintels and slate roofs reinforce the local character. The interiors mix traditional with modern.

house 3 and harbour at sunset


sustainability diagram of house
steel rebar framework for house under construction
underfloor heating pipes prior to screed pour

The houses have been designed to ensure comfortable and energy-efficient interiors both during the excessive heat of the summer and during the cold winter months when it has been known to snow.

The excavation necessary to build on this steep site provides:

- a natural earth shelter to the south elevation, where the sun is hottest

- an abundant supply of stone which is then worked by hand and re-used to clad the outside of the buildings and retaining walls

Thick walls of over half a metre provide:

- thermal mass through the use of the concrete frame and floor slabs, built to withstand seismic loads, alongside the stone cladding to the outside

- efficient insulation

The site is off the water grid therefore:

- all rainwater is and stored in basement tanks for re-use.

In the summer:

- large north-facing windows open up to take advantage of prevailing winds

- high level cross-vents maximise natural ventilation

In the winter:

- underfloor heating creates a comfortable environment

- an air source heat pump minimises power consumption of the heating

- an efficient wood-burning fireplace can be used boost the heat of the main living area


A key challenge was the solid rock which lies beneath a thin layer of existing top soil.

1. The site is surveyed.

surveying the site to set out the houses

2. Rock core samples were drilled to check the structure of the ground below.

rock core samples from drilling

3. Deep excavations were made into the rock to create underground water storage tanks.

deep excavation into the rock for basement water tanks

4. The same stone excavated for the foundations is reworked by hand to clad the outside of the buildings and retaining walls.

stone masons at work on the facade

concrete frame

The primary structure is concrete, designed to withstand seismic loads.

concrete frame with formwork
sweet-chestnut timber roof structure

completed timber roof structure viewed from below

slate roof detail with traditional brick cornice

detail of swimming pool

tiling the swimming pool with mosaic

metalworker welding on site

traditional handmade chimney top carrot

Some of the details are formed by hand - for example the 'carrot'.


Structural Engineer - Sotiris Dermitzakis
Project Manager - Sotiris Dermitzakis