Competition entry for The Alexander Thomson Society 2016
The 360° Double Villa is a contemporary interpretation of the Villa Maria complex of two identical houses, designed in 1856 by Alexander “Greek” Thomson, that are composed in such a way to be perceived as a single residence.
The total surface of the building is 428 sqm – which is the equivalent of 214 m2 for each residence. The building’s diameter is 26 m with an atrium of 165 sqm surface and 14.5 m diameter.
The proposal is inspired by the architect’s “greek” orientation and is based on an analysis and reintepretation of the ancient greek architecture key elements:
– One of the main characteristics of ancient greek public architecture is the peripteral temple and the 360° view of the buidings.
– Houses had a fully developed peristyle courtyard at the centre, with the rooms arranged around it.
– Ancient greek architecture is distinguished by its highly formalized characteristics, both of structure and decoration. The elevation of Greek temples is always subdivided in three zones: the crepidoma, the columns and the entablature.
– The typical British urban house or semi-detached house usually consists of two or three floors. The 360° double villa is all about two semi detached houses that instead of being organized vertically they are designed to function horizontally due to their linear form.
– The two linear residences transform into two semi circular shapes that together form an one entity building with an atrium – inner courtyard.
– Part of each residence is lifted in order to provide access into the atrium – inner courtyard, views to the city and sheltered exterior spaces.
Furthermore, in accordance to the simple and linear development of the houses’ floorplans, the whole building itself follows a clear and austere form, originating from the simplicity and purity of ancient greek architecture, that restrained proportions and lacked extreme gestures.
– The exterior space is divided in 3 types:
Private exterior space within the inner courtyard, sheltered exterior space under the lifted parts of the building and open air exterior space that interacts with the city.
The necessity to preserve each residence’s privacy in the inner courtyard is achieved by orienting the window views of each house to the respective trees. Using a full glass facade in a domestic project makes it essential to prevent a potential full view of the residents from the street. To maintain the amount of visibility according to each room’s special use or to each inhabitant’s special mood, a system of electric switchable glass with adjustable opacity is proposed.