Two Holiday Houses in Firostefani, by Kapsimalis Architects

Two different cave houses that are almost opposing to each other

Project Specs


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The holiday houses are located in the traditional village of Firostefani on the island of Santorini. Two old existing cave houses, next to each other, dug into the volcanic soil, are reconstructed and used as residences for travelers.
A small extension is built in front of the façade of the second house.



In front of the two houses there is a yard with two pools, that is higher than the pedestrian level and their entrances.
The yard can be used as one, or can be divided into two private parts, through a sliding door that runs all the width of it. The house on the left side is about 110sq.m. and it consists of a sitting area, a kitchen with a dining area, a small bedroom with a bathroom, the main bedroom with its bathroom, a ‘shower’ area, a sauna, a hammam and a space for massage and relaxation.
In the second house on the right side, there are a kitchen with a dining area in the front, a sitting area, the main bedroom and the wardrobes as an open space and a bathroom on the back of it, approximately 70sq.m. The intention of the project was to create two totally different cave houses, that are almost opposing to each other.

▼别墅主立面,entrance facade

the yard can be divided into two private parts through a sliding door


House 1


The longer cave house on the left side has been designed as a primitive, minimal and sculptural space. Sharp lines and volumes are contrasting with the smooth curves of the cave house, creating an odd sense of the space. These tectonic volumes could be the leftovers of the soil removal from the cave in a more dynamic way shaping a kind of “labyrinth’’. The use of similar color palette and materiality onto the floor and the walls forms a continuity of the interior space bringing out the curves and the random forms of the cave. The earth colors that are chosen, become darker and darker from space to space until the last room, that ends with a dark grey color.

▼体量较长的小屋拥有原始、极简、形如雕塑的空间,the longer cave house is designed as a primitive, minimal and sculptural space

▼圆滑的洞穴轮廓, the smooth curves of the cave house



The curved walls in some parts are like thin layers of “skin’’ that can be illuminated with a wide range of colors.
Most of the furniture are built, in order to become part of that ‘cocoon’.
The sensuous and mystical space is completed with some pieces of furniture by marble and wood, with diverse proportions and primary shapes. The house has a view to the volcano and to the bright scape of caldera, creating an antithesis between the darker interior space and the intense feeling of light of the yard.

▼曲面的墙壁可以被各种色彩的灯光点亮,the curved walls in some parts can be illuminated with a wide range of colors


▼卧室后方的更衣室,dressing area behind the bedroom

▼带有桑拿房和按摩空间的浴室,bathroom with a sauna, a hammam and a space for massage and relaxation



House 2


The second house has a different approach.
Main idea of the design was to convert the old cave into a futuristic, innovative space, attempting to push the limits of the space to a breaking point. The marks of the cave are obvious, as the soil of the earth, as appeared through the excavation, is maintained. A construction of shady mirror, covers two of the sides of the main space, offering a different perspective to the space. Light and color effects inside the mirror create optical illusions, and luminous circular and rectangular holes that don’t exist in reality. A hidden video screen inside the mirror produces sounds and motion.
The wardrobes and the door of the bathroom is placed out of view, behind the mirror.
The floor is made by rough, light grey marble, that strengthens the materiality and the texture of the old part of the cave.

▼第二间小屋的空间具有强烈的未来感,the second house has a different approach with a futuristic space

▼暗色的镜面覆盖了主空间的两面墙壁,a construction of shady mirror covers two of the sides of the main space

▼发光的圆洞和方洞仿佛连接着现实中不存在的空间,luminous circular and rectangular holes seem not exist in reality




The extension of the house is a white box, that brings on its top a small pool. A rectangular hole on the ceiling reveals the existence of the water, giving a visual moving effect.
In the main space of the house, the bed is placed in the center, under the big vault, looking to the volcano view. Behind the bed a deep red furniture is used as a desk for preparing yourself. Marble, lacquered wood, metal and grey fabrics complete the palette of the materials.

▼增建部分屋顶上方的水池天窗带来自然的互动,a rectangular hole on the ceiling reveals the existence of the water, giving a visual moving effect

▼阳台上的就座空间,sitting space in the balcony

▼纯白的浴室,a pure white bathroom

▼通往二层露台的楼梯,staircase leading to the terrace on the upper floor


The openings of the two houses, made by wood, cover almost the whole façade of the building in order to bring the light and the view inside the space. At the same time the exterior summer life becomes a part of the interior space.
The design of the holiday houses is totally integrated in the volcanic landscape and the cubistic architecture of Santorini in a more contemporary twist.

▼平台夜景,night view


▼扩建部分平面图,extension plan


Architecture: Kapsimals Architects
Photographer: Yiorgos Kordakis

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