NCaved is along a rocky cove on the Greek island of Serifos, seen hovering just above sea level. Mold Architects completed the NCaved house underground, right inside the cliff. The design team tried to introduce a sanctuary that was protected from strong north winds without blocking the rolling landscape and sweeping horizon. These are dwellings without an exterior form, but as a series of livable volumes that blend with the earth.
The architects applied a rectangular grid to the slopes to produce a three-dimensional “chessboard” of accommodating solids and cavities, at the same time isolating the dwellings. This strict geometry is terminated by the rotation of the grid’s last axis, which gives the living room a spacious look. The axis shift intensifies the sense of perspective significantly, thus the footprint of residence appears to be minimized at the conceptual end of the ascent. The walls extend from a layer of dry stone that breaks down and protects the interior and exterior spaces. They consist of a vertical boundary that directs the view to the horizon line. In contrast to the solid stone walls, the transverse facades is light, made of glass and can be opened along the entire length of the wall.
The front area fully opens to the east, while the rear windows frame the indoor garden, increasing airflow and letting light in. Lighting and ventilation with front and rear openings, masonry, planted flat roofs, suitable insulation and energy-saving glass panels add to the excellent bioclimatic features of NCaved. The entire interior is divided into three levels including a bedroom, living room, and family room. The first two communicate internally, while the others are independent. There is a staircase in the cave that connects the three levels externally and leads to the main entrance which is located in the attic of the living room
In the cave area is a “negative” space. They result from severing and removing part of the rock. It is this rustic feeling of natural cavities that we want to recreate with our selected materials and color palette. Stone, exposed concrete, wood and metal are used with precision to make the rugged inner shell. The perforated filters on the facades and floor produce a shadow pattern. Paired with large reflective mirror surfaces, they create an eerie atmosphere in the private areas of the residence. Finally, the pergola appears to float off the surface, showing the physical aspect of the residence, which blends into the landscape, yet maintains a dynamic presence.