nCaved: A Protected Shelter

Mold Architects

Architects: Mold Architects
Location: Serifos Island, Greece
Area: 360 m2
Year: 2020
Photography: Yiorgis Yerolymbos and Panagiotis Voumvakis

NCaved is located in a small secluded rocky cove seemingly hovering just above sea level. The need to create a protected shelter, at a location with a disarming view, but openly exposed to strong north winds, led us to the decision to drill into the slope, instead of arranging a set of spaces in line at ground level.

We applied a rectangular grid to the slope to produce a three-dimensional “chessboard” of solids and voids. This strict geometry is discontinued with the rotation of the final axis of the grid, which provides the living area with a broader view. Shifting the axis intensifies the sense of perspective significantly, and thus the imprint of the residence appears minimized at the conceptual end of the ascent.

Side walls of dry stone create the vertical borders, which lead the visitor’s gaze toward the horizon line. In contrast to the sturdy stone walls, the transverse façades are light, made of glass and can open along their entire length. The front is fully open to the east, while the rear windows frame indoor gardens, enhancing the air flow and letting light into the residence.

An in-caved staircase connects the three levels externally and leads to the main entrance, located in the living room loft. This smooth descent into the interior of the house slowly reveals the initially hidden spaces of the house, while framing a two-sided view: a visual outlet to the sea during the descent, an outlet to the sky during the ascent.

*In-caved areas are “negative” spaces. They result from severing and removing part of the rock. This rough feeling of a natural cavity was what we aimed to recreate with our choice of materials and color palette. Stone, exposed concrete, wood and metal are used with precision to create coarse inner shells.