Split & Rotate by Nicos Kalogirou



Split & Rotate, a holiday home designed by architect Nicos Kalogirou, has been nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2009.


Located at the foot of East Vermion mountain inNaoussa Greece, the single-family  house consists of two volumes linked by a glass passageway.


The main residence has a metal structure and is clad in shipping plywood.


The second volume consists of a children's pavilion with louvred facades.


Nicos Kalogirou is a professor and president of the school of architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


The following text is from the architect:


Split & Rotate: vacation house in Greece

The house is located on the foot of East Vermion mountain, in a landscape characterised by natural prominences charged also with historic memories. The archaeological site of the School of Aristotle is situated nearby, along with the city of Naoussa, known for its revolutionary past, and being one of the earliest centres of industrial development and urban modernisation in the broader area of Macedonia. Responding to the spirit of the place, the general layout is austere, with clear geometric elements, industrial aesthetics and dynamic yet controllable tension.


The general layout results from the split in two unequal parts; the main residence and the children’s pavilion – that are bridged with a transparent, glass passage way. The composition results from the simultaneous rotation of the volumes on two axes according to the topography and the views, thus ensuring, a dialectic composition of the entirety, with clear, relatively independently functioning yet connected parts.


The main, elongated, inclined, U-sectioned volume is rotated following the natural slope, while its slit openings and the semi-open spaces at both ends frame remarkable views of the plain of Central Macedonia and Mount Vermion. From a functional point of view, the linear arrangement of successive levels ensures unified spaces with the living room located at the lower level overlooking the main view and the higher level reserved for the private areas of the parents.


The smaller prismatic volume is also U-sectioned, rotated though by 90 ο, thus creating the children’s ‘pavilion’, open at three of its sides. The maintenance of the horizontality through its cantilevered parts, especially towards the side of the down slope, combined with a perimetric pixeled louvers filter gives the impression of lightness and hovering.


The realisation of the project was not easy. An initially larger version of concrete and wooden elements had to be abandoned due to cost and high demands in the construction. An eventual cancellation of the project led to alternative, and probably more inventive material decisions and construction solutions, revealing an unexpected flexibility of the initial concept to a series of transformations.


The unusually light, for Greek construction standards, metal framed structure and its external covering with shipping plywood, was chosen for its low cost and high speed of realisation. Actually the ‘Split and Rotate’ house constitutes a reversible, pre-fab structure made of rough industrial materials that are left in their natural textures, echoing the particular industrial past of the city of Naoussa.


Avoiding any evident morphological influence, the conscious references to the local building tradition are indirect. They can be traced in the typological level, regarding the narrow-faced urban houses with interior spaces arranged in a succession, the semi-open living spaces and the light structures of the upper levels with a transparency controllable by means of perforated filters that facilitate climatic adaptation.


The vacation house in Naoussa is the result of a small series of compositional studies of splitting, graduating and rotating clear geometric prisms, adjustment to the topography and environmental adaptation to the natural and cultural landscape of the place.



Architect: Nicos Kalogirou
Collaborators: Telis & Prodromos Vassiliadis, Artemis Kalogirou, Evangelos Kotsioris
Photos: Nicos Kalogirou


Location: Naoussa, Imathia Greece
Floor area: 143 sq.m.
Budget: €155,000





Posted on Monday January 26th 2009 at 2:16 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • rodger

    quite a nice project conceptually but rather underdeveloped as a habitable structure. this building has a hateful relationship to its site.

  • Quirky and interesting — I love it! But no pictures of the interiors in the ‘children’s pavillion’ — aw, that’s my favourite part.

  • conceptual and quite cute :)

  • I think,tahat this building is purposely contradicting to the site. Its like the “man-made-structure”,which shows the beauty of both, when they contradict one another.

  • waka

    glad that it didnt get realised teh way it looks in the rendering.
    i like the real one better

  • jed_

    they certainly did well for €155,000!!!

  • kingmu

    pure and wonderful. just enough edge to make it exciting.

  • Crusty the Clown

    Very confining – like a cage – perhaps this could be the new home for the soon to be released Guantanemo prisoners.

    Poor Mies must be rolling over in his grave…

  • I just fell in love.

  • Wow.. I really love the idea and the design.. Nicos Kalogirou is considered as one of the famous architect nowadays.. Hoping for more designs to come.

  • DCV

    Uncompromised simplicity. Love it!

  • Mr. Opinionated

    Crusty the Clown wasn’t clowning around and i couldn’t agree with him/her more. It’s much too confining. I completely don’t get its relation to the site. You couldn’t pay me to live there. It’s a shame the architect didn’t take advantage of the panoramic views in his design. Someone commented on this having a jail like feel and they are absolutely right. Who want to look through that facade? This is a HORRIBLE design.

  • eva

    I think that the architect mostly thought of a sculpture and its relationship with the enviroment. I think he saw the sculpture and the site, not the house and the site. So it is a nowadays issue whether this kind of architecture fits “naturaly” on land. As an inspiration and design theme i loved it and i am sure once somebody drives by should be astonished by its architecture,but real life in it makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

  • eva

    Now i had a better look -as it happens to be Greek- i have to say that reminded me the exact kind of buildings that use to exist in some part of Greek land. I am refering to the old farmer storage areas, made of tin and plies of wood. Maybe this was the inspiration.

  • damages

    Looks like a couple of containers rolled down the slope and stopped there, and no one bothered to pick them up. If I was the landscape, I would sue.

  • DJ

    crusty the clown was a man…..a real man never forget that.

  • Joe

    With the sloping style of the design, they could have at least buried the building a little… a little bit of earth goes a loooong way at reducing heating and cooling costs. But I like the interior spaces.

  • nice concept

  • due to the angle on the roof, i would not make the partitions walls go all the way to the roof or use something transparent to give full cover yet give the angle more exposure from the inside.

    anyway, although its been done before, i still like this version. the angle works very we with the split level

  • nasos

    a very good result in a country which lacks good architecture.
    unfortunately i’m greek….

  • Salvadore


  • maria

    OMG!!!! this is my house!! im not even joking. i live in england and its my holiday home because im half greek and i go there in the holidays!!!! my room is the one facing towards the drive in the childrens pavilion!!!! anyone sayin bad things about it n ow will have me to answer to and id like to see any pictures of your holiday homes (if you can afford them!!!) on the internet!!!
    p.s google earth doesnt count!!!!!!!!

  • A.

    ‘Show me your house to tell you who you are’ said once an old Greek architect.. If you know what i mean..

    PS: eat your money!

  • telis

    Dear user Maria, you said that you own the house of proffesor nikos kalogirou,
    i’m currently writing a paper about it, would it be easy for you to let me come and take some pictures of it? actually i’m forced to present some pictures i’ve took myself. Hope you read that soon!

  • A gentle and minimal gesture, which charges the site with a form of spatial tension. A great example of contemporary Greek architecture!