Fyrgani by Aka – Apostolou Colakis Architects
Fyrgani is a lovely stone holiday house located in Sifnos, Greece, designed in 2021 by AKA – Apostolou Colakis Architects.
This small holiday home, ‘Fyrgani’, is placed within the landscape of Sifnos Island, surrounded by configurations of dry stone walls (‘xerolithiés’) and the outlines of abandoned rural buildings (‘themoniés’) with their threshing floors (‘alónia’).
The building rests softly on the landscape like a modern ‘themoniá’, consistent with the scale and morphology of the rural buildings scattered around it.
It is composed of three rectangular volumes: two stone volumes containing the bedrooms and, between them, a small colored volume containing the kitchen. This volume emerges from the retaining dry stone wall, extends into a covered courtyard, and functions as a joint and a passage between outdoor areas and rooms. The negative space between the dry stone wall and the building creates a corridor that transforms into large eastern courtyard with ample views of the Aegean. By alternating closed, covered and open spaces (a distinctive feature of Cycladic architecture), comfort in all climatic conditions in ensured.
The placement of the volumes utilizes the natural qualities of the Sifnos landscape to create distinct experiences: access from the gentler south side, the eastern sun bathing the large courtyard, protection from the strong north winds in the covered courtyard, framed views of the sea and the two settlements occupying the perimetrical ridges, natural ventilation achieved by perimetrical openings.
The basic materials of Cycladic architecture have been used for construction: local stone, wood, mortar, metal and wicker.
With a total area of just 58m2, the house is cohesive and comprehensive. The rooms are equipped concisely yet thoroughly. The beds are built-in and small wooden wardrobes form entrances to the spacious bathrooms. The wooden desks are a continuation of the window frames, and free-standing furniture is kept to a minimum. The metal-framed wooden kitchen cabinets contain all necessary equipment, while the custom-made plate-holders reference traditional island kitchens.
Lighting sources are simple and discreet, creating various levels of illumination. Perimetrical openings guarantee natural ventilation, which is enhanced through the use of ceiling fans.
With the once-colorful Cycladic settlements in mind, the interior and exterior floors were painted in the indigo color of the Sifnos sky, which transcends the boundaries of the house and pours into the landscape. These reflective surfaces generate a feeling of wetness, creating a dialogue with the sea and distinguishing the man-made environment from the surrounding natural and unformed landscape, which remains intact, with gentle planting close to the house.
“The islands were colorful. I have seen them, wandering in the Aegean since childhood. Traversing their streets, you were bathed in the ocher and the blue.”
Alekos Fasianos (1935-2022)