The project “Cave House” by Zeropixel Architects involves the development of a new dwelling on an existing site in a small settlement located on the outskirts of Heraklion.
The design of the stone-built residence with an undercut structure, a swimming pool, and underground areas was based on the preferences and experiences of the two proprietors, as well as the morphology and orientation of the study site.
When approaching from the road, one can observe an olive grove with a gentle slope, an artificial lake that terminates at a cliff. The building was carefully situated in the topography of the ground, positioned at the edge of the cliff to remain concealed.
The residence is comprised of three wings, each with different orientations and views. The central wing, which contains the primary entrance, features the living areas, kitchen, dining room, and an outdoor pool area with a living room, fireplace, and dining room.
The west wing includes ancillary spaces, guest quarters, enclosed parking, and the staircase leading to the underground spaces. The east wing is home to the master bedroom and the office. The underground areas contain a gym with changing rooms, an office with a glass wall facing the swimming pool, a cinema, board game areas, a kitchen, a bathroom, storage rooms, and engine rooms.
The entrance to the residence is accessed by a path that runs through an artificial lake-waterfall, descending to an internal triangular courtyard resulting from the three wings of the building. The southern courtyard provides a view through the north and south walls’ large glass areas.
The design of the interior spaces in the two private wings emphasizes the user’s focus on the view, whether from the bed, shower, or desk. The eastern wing overlooks the city of Heraklion and the sea, while the central wing offers views of the valley, and the western wing of the Psilorites mountain.
The project adheres to bioclimatic design principles, prioritizing orientation, natural ventilation, and lighting. The green roof provides cooling during hot summers in Crete. The photovoltaic panels, located in a discreet area of the study, in combination with built-in heat pumps and insulation, offer energy autonomy and passive performance to the building.