Nuova Malinconia: a home designed by the landscape of the Sithonia Peninsula
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Nuova Malinconia: a home designed by the landscape of the Sithonia Peninsula

An understated presence among the sea and vegetation

Matteo Baborsky

Nuova Malinconia: a home designed by the landscape of the Sithonia Peninsula
By Editorial Staff -

With hills and mountains overlooking the sea, cultivated fields that disappear into the horizon, olive groves, pine woods, and rich green Mediterranean scrubland contrasting with the blue of the Aegean, Sithonia is a remarkable location. A peninsula off Chalkidiki, itself a peninsula of Greece, Sithonia is the setting for Nuova Malinconia, a residence designed by architect Matteo Baborsky that’s immersed in nature and built according to the topography of its site. Rising from the rocky ground and partly hidden by vegetation, the clear lines of the structure can just be spotted on the slope, with its pitched roof and its horizontal layout across the site. The home is fully integrated into the natural environment, this being further accentuated by its position below the road to the nearby village. The sloping land between the road and the edge of the Mediterranean scrub, which follows the curve of the rocky cliff, is entirely occupied by the building site, resulting in the home being low and inconspicuous, despite its two aboveground floors and basement. It occupies the site of an earlier small farm building and uses its local stone footing.

The ensuite bedrooms are at ground level and have large closets towards the back that are partially underground. The rooms have magnificent views of the sea thanks to a large terrace, which in turn provides shelter for a storage room and portico, which also overlooks the Aegean Sea below.

The floor above is divided into a double-height living area, a study, and a kitchen area, all with direct access to the outdoor parking area. The heart of outdoor life on this upper floor is again the terrace, which projects outwards towards the sea and is connected to walkways on either side, which circle the structure.

 

Materials and construction methods

Nuova Malinconia, Arch. Matteo Baborsky ©Yorgos Papastergis, courtesy of Arch. Matteo Baborsky

Respect for the local area, its traditions, and sustainable design all played a key role in the choice of materials and construction methods. The terraces and walkways, for example, are finished with local stone and have a hot-dipped galvanized iron balustrade made up of a series of independent, closely spaced balusters. The construction methods are traditional, with reinforced concrete load-bearing structures, perforated block infill sandwiching insulation, and a laminated timber roof with Marseilles tiles. The windows and shutters are aluminum and retract into the wall.

A laminated timber structure with a Marseilles tile finish, the small porch near the car park provides shelter for the entrance to the utility areas as well as connecting the flow of rainwater along the gutters to the building’s two downpipes. With the location affected by strong northeast and southeast winds, the architect opted for a thick plaster wall finish with a siloxane elastomeric coating in shades of light gray and ivory.

 

Sithonia

Nuova Malinconia, Arch. Matteo Baborsky ©Yorgos Papastergis, courtesy of Arch. Matteo Baborsky

Sithonia is a place with a precious natural heritage. The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki moved to protect it as early as 1960 in the planning stages for its Vourvourou resort for its teaching staff. Located on the eastern coast of Sithonia, the resort overlooks the pristine archipelago of Nisi Diaporos. Subject to a range of conditions, lots were drawn to assign land on which to build single-family homes of one or two floors that integrated harmoniously into the coastal landscape. Nowadays, it has an internal system of roads, neighborhood amenities, and sports facilities open to the surrounding area.

>>> Read the editorial by Dorte Mandrup in THE PLAN 144, “In Search of a Balance between Nature and Culture.”

Cretits

Location: Vourvourou, Sithonía, Greece
Architect: Matteo Baborsky
Completion: 2023
Client: Marina Ruth Gonatas
Contractor: GMP Construction Company
Structures: Giorgos Papargyris
Built Up Area: 206 m2

Photography by Yorgos Papastergis, courtesy of Arch. Matteo Baborsky

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