Block722’s Crafted Residence Viglostasi’s Distinctive Character by Cleverly Drawing on the Typology of Small Aegean Villages

This single, private holiday home, nestled in its secluded, natural site of the Cycladic Island of Syros has been inspired by the minimalist constellations of low volumes, often found sprawled on hillsides, looking out towards the sea

“To rise all senses through authentic and timeless experiences” is the mission of Block722, an Athens based studio founded in 2009 by architect Sotiris Tsergas and interior designer Katja Margaritoglou. The team combines Greek and Scandinavian heritage, as well as interdisciplinary experience, and creates work that feels confident, natural, and timeless. The studio undertakes a variety of work, from residential to commercial and hospitality, managing in-house all stages of architectural development, from concept design, through to construction and delivery. Solutions always incorporate a focus on quality materials, a crafts-based approach and collaborations with local artisans and artists that interpret the Mediterranean spirit and traditions for the 21st century. An architectural ethos that places a sense of balance at its heart is among this boutique, yet dynamic practice’s guiding principles. At the same time, Block722’s design solutions are strongly led by each project’s contextual needs and the client’s brief. As a result, the studio has won several high-profile awards and has been featured widely in Greek and international media.

Their residence architecture project, residence Viglostasi, appears like a traditional island settlement, perched on rocky slopes above the Mediterranean Sea. Yet, this is a single, private holiday home, nestled in its secluded, natural site of the Cycladic Island of Syros. Its creator, Block722, crafted the house’s distinctive character by cleverly drawing on the typology of small Aegean villages – minimalist constellations of low volumes, often found sprawled on hillsides, looking out towards the sea.

The project was a commission by a family of four, who had been looking to build their dream retreat there, after exploring different islands and inspired by Block722’s past works on Syros - the residential scheme Syros I and Syros II. The client’s brief outlined a home inspired by the simple forms of the Greek island vernacular. This chimed in perfectly with Block722’s signature blend of low key, gentle architecture, minimalist forms, natural materials and neutral colours. The family was also after a generous, yet modest and calming space to stay, host and entertain, making the most of the island’s slow, indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

The result is over 5,000 square feet of low, orthogonal volumes, arranged around a network of pathways that connect both enclosed spaces and the various terraces, gardens, and patios on site. The main house contains a principal suite and a second bedroom, as well as a flowing, open plan living space. Two guest suites provide additional sleeping quarters, remaining connected to the primary residence through shared facilities and vistas. A central outdoor ‘plaza’ brings everything together and acts as a circulation heart to the whole, leading towards the 25 metre long infinity pool and lounge terrace to the lower end of the plot. It offers uninterrupted views towards the horizon, while underneath it, a home gym and yoga terrace are tucked away, allowing privacy for exercising and meditation. Spreading the home on different levels manages the site’s steep incline. It also permits long views from almost everywhere. Meanwhile, the modest stone, wood and plaster volumes’ spaced-out placement makes the complex appear at home within the arrant, Greek landscape. Light, nature- inspired colour tones, terrazzo palladiana floors, traditional shutters and pergolas, a garden of native species, and a green roof, further accentuate this feeling.

At the same time, a sense of gentle luxury prevails. This is achieved not only by generosity of space throughout, but also through bespoke details (such as the joinery), and the materials used, which include Olympus marble, travertine stone, bamboo, and oak wood.

All of this perfectly fits the client’s vision for a home that feels like a family of traditional Aegean structures, offering different views, feels and qualities of space to play with and enjoy. It makes the most of the site’s substantial size and connects seamlessly indoors and outdoors, creating spatial narratives and framing views along the way; eventually leading down to the clients’ own cove, used for private swimming and yacht mooring.

Words: Emily Leung & Nikey Cheng
Photos: Ana Santl & George Pappas
Published on December 05, 2023