Mirage house by Kois Associated Architects
to feature rooftop infinity pool


An infinity pool will form the roof of this cavernous house designed by Athens studio Kois Associated Architects for the Greek island of Tinos (+ slideshow).

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

Designed for the rocky terrain that makes up the island's south-west coastline, the Mirage house is conceived by Kois Associated Architects as "an invisible oasis" where residents can enjoy panoramic views over the Aegean Sea without giving up their privacy.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

The team decided to bury part of the building in the landscape and then create a large open-air living room in front. These will all be sheltered beneath the rooftop pool, which will act as a huge mirror to help the building camouflage with its surroundings.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

"Some of our clients' major concerns were visibility and privacy," project architect Nikos Patsiaouras told Dezeen. "At first we were concerned with the concept of invisibility. We asked ourselves 'How can you make a building disappear?'. Our response was to mimic elements of the landscape."

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

"The visual effect of the mirroring of the pool in combination with the concept of invisibility brought to mind the visual phenomenon of the mirage, from which the project was named," he said.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

Dry stone walls will surround sections of the interior and also frame the building's entrance. These are designed to reference the traditional walls that can be spotted all over the scenic island landscape.

Patsiaouras explained: "The elements that stirred our imagination most were the linear drywall constructions that articulate the landscape and the scattered shallow concrete water-reservoirs used for agricultural purposes."

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

The team also plans to add rammed-earth walls around the rear of the building, with layers of vegetation that will help to create a cool internal environment.

The house will be located on a natural plateau, allowing for a simple single-storey layout. This will include three bedrooms and a separate kitchen, as well as the outdoor living room.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects

Here's a project description from Kois Associated Architects:

Mirage, Tinos Island, Greece

Located in the northern side of the Cyclades, Tinos is the third largest island of the island formation. Known as the Island of Madonna, Tinos is the greatest centre of pilgrimage in Greece. Within its landscape of rugged, rocky hills lay more than 40 villages, like marble fragments of an ancient statue scattered across the hills. The island is famous for its unspoiled architecture, its picturesque villages and beautiful scenery. More than a thousand churches can be found on slopes and hilltops, a thousand or so dovecotes, while masterpieces of local architecture and tens of derelict windmills are found in its gullies and valleys. The scenery is lined by hundreds of kilometres of dry stonewalls that make the landscape unique.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects
Concept diagram

The residence is situated on a steep sloped rocky plot facing south, overlooking the Aegean Sea. The site offers protection from the prevailing winds and a natural plateau which from the beginning was identified as the optimal location for the residence as it would minimise the impact to the landscape due to excavation. It is a single-level structure and has a surface of 198 square metres. The location allows benefiting from wonderful and panoramic views of the landscape and seascape. Our approach to the program was Doric. Only the essential features and programmatic elements to sustain a comfortable stay were incorporated in the design.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects
Site plan - click for larger image

Our goal was to integrate the building into the landscape like it was part of it.The living space is covered by a rimless pool that produces a visual effect of the water extending to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape. From a distance especially if viewed from the path of approach, on a higher ground, the only visible feature of the house is the sea like surface of the pool. The water during the day reflects the surroundings and during the night, the star filled night sky. The mirroring pool of water carefully positioned on the landscape evokes memories of the optical phenomenon of the mirage from which the project was named.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects
Roof plan - click for larger image

The most of the visible construction materials were extracted from the vicinity and were used to make the house disappear into the scenery. Local techniques were also borrowed like the characteristic dry wall construction found in abundance in the island. This technique was implemented with minor modifications; on the side embankment walls in each side of the pool volume. The local materials have a low impact on the environment and they are very efficient as insulating materials. The rear walls are made of retained earth and have layers of vegetation that regulates the temperature and cools the environment through evaporation. The pool acting as roof provides thermal insulation and protection from solar radiation and heat transmittance.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, an invisible oasis hidden from the unsuspected eyes. The house is acts almost like an observation post as it clings to the rocks and oversees the dramatic cascading landscape. A landscape left almost intact due to the implemented design strategy and the careful selection of materials.

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects
Section - click for larger image

Principal architect: Stelios Kois
Project leader: Nikos Patsiaouras
Design team: Filipos Manolas, Gaby Barbas, Giannakis Konstantinos
Size: 198 sqm

Mirage by Kois Associated Architects
Elevation - click for larger image

Jellyfish House by Wiel Arets

See more extreme places to swim including this house with a glass-bottomed pool above a terrace.

  • Rafel

    Very nice, just a pity to build something in such nice coast, but I suppose someone else would have built much, much worse.

  • Prole

    What economic crisis?

    • ania

      My friend, this is the result of economic crisis: people who can live in such places become even richer now.

      • Trent

        So what? What’s the problem with getting richer?

        • ania

          I just commented on Prole’s question, who was wondering about economic crisis after reading this article. I said nothing more Trent!

          • Trent

            Your statement has no truth to it whatsoever. Do some people suffer? Sure they do as they do in a booming economy.

            Upward mobility among the poor and middle classes advances tremendously (especially in the States) during an economic crisis. However, you’ll never hear about the upward mobility percentages especially from the press in the US.

          • cho cho

            “Upward Mobility among the poor and middle classes advance tremendously (especially in the States) during an economic crisis.” You’re kidding right? Or perhaps your English is not very good and you meant to say something else?

            I think it is neither as your next sentence reveals a blind denial of the fact that the press, particularly recently as a run up to the November elections, has been writing reams about the growing financial inequality between the classes – particularly in the States and how it is the worst since the 90s, the 1890s that is.

          • scot sims

            Your ignorance regarding economic realities in the US is stunning.

            A simple Google of the economic situation here should be more than enough.

            People such as you are the reason the world is in the shape it is today.

          • Trena

            Trent, “Upward mobility among the poor and middle classes advances tremendously (especially in the States) during an economic crisis.”

            By definition of an economic crisis there is less upward mobility, especially amongst the lower class who bear more than their share of the unemployment and financial pressures. Where does your reasoning come from that it would advance tremendously?

    • vincentius

      Labour is cheap in Greece with concrete poured by old men with wheelbarrows.

  • Emily

    How does one access the pool?

  • vikarch

    It all looks great but which authority will approve this suicidal roof top without any balustrades?Eespecially considering the deep end is not where the fall is but on the opposite end. I’d die of fear of slipping and falling over.

    • Oestrus

      Well… according to the construction rules of this island the pool is illegal, you cannot get a license for it as this island has an extreme lack of potable water. But in Greece, you can get a license for a rainwater reservoir, which miraculously becomes a fancy pool!

      Other than that the house is awesome, except the outdoor frames that are made of aluminium which clearly shows the complete disregard of the architect and the owner towards the Cycladic traditional architecture. Pity…

  • edo

    Great way to die. Fall asleep on a floater and kaboom!

  • papou

    Great design.

  • Niki

    It’s an amazing project, period.

    • Anna

      It’s an amazing and UNREALISTIC project. The design team has probably never been to Tinos in August.

      • Oestrus

        So you must have been there in August but never left the port to see the rest of it. The island is a dream.

  • Matt

    Why do the rich and famous always complain about a lack of privacy and then do everything they can do draw attention to themselves? The idea that this provides privacy – while sitting on nothing but two pristine white chairs for reclining on in your bikini, in the middle of an extraordinarily spectacular (in the real sense of the word) pool – is clearly absurd.

    I also think the shallow areas of that pool are going to turn into a warm bath in the heat of summer – not to mention evaporating water at a terrifying rate.

  • jed

    Good luck! Or should I say “break a leg!”

  • vikarch

    Access to pool? Helicopter! As the stairs inside the pool are shown right above the stairs going down under – makes zero sense indeed for now.

    • Hugh

      Nice visualisations. I suppose all the design problems get worked out when someone wants to pay for the time.

    • Andrea70

      About access to pool: don’t you see stairs at the right of the pool? About the project: G O R G E O U S

      • Maria

        What stairs? Those lead to the house underneath!

  • Fred

    Where is the water flooding out of the pond going? How do you access to the steps we can see through the water? The design and images are still pretty radical. I am interested in knowing how the technical aspect will be dealt with to preserve the minimalism of this water roof.

  • arcitecture mindgames

    Wind in Tinos island has to be considered at max! As a 3D is OK and nice in reality?

  • Giulio
  • Colm Johnston

    I’m sorry but our friend Ania is correct. I live in America and the middle class has been decimated by this crisis and the people who advance themselves during recessions are the only very wealthy.

    You’re obviously one of two things: a poor uneducated American who believes everything they see on Fox “News”; or an entitled Republican who lives in a parallel universe ?

  • rodd22 AKA Hobbes

    Breathtakingly beautiful. As the pools water reflects the sky – it’s like an opal gem set in marble – stunning!!!!