27 April 2017

A widely-acclaimed architecture project by University of Hertfordshire Architecture Lecturer Eva Sopeoglou has won a prestigious Architizer A+ Award in New York.

The ‘Summer House in Halkidiki,’ Greece (or ‘The Olive Tree house’), which explores the themes of shading, sustainability and human comfort in architecture, won the Popular Choice award in the Architecture + Light category, after making it to the final five projects competing to win the coveted international prize.

It follows months of award success for the project, which won the 2016 Surface Design Awards in London last year for ‘Light and Surface Exterior’, followed by 'Best First Project by a Young Architect 2012-2016’ in the 2017 DOMES International Review of Architecture awards in Athens.

The Olive Tree House is a low-maintenance weekend home located on a pristine olive grove hill overlooking the sea, and beyond towards the famous monasteries of Mount Athos. The building forms part of an enquiry into sustainability and the provision for human comfort in architecture, by questioning the definition of inside and outside inhabitable space.

All building components were pre-fabricated, nevertheless, the design itself carefully considers the sun’s position to provide shading and to complement the views. The 3m by 7m rectangular plan is aligned to the cardinal points and it is sub-divided into smaller rooms. A corridor connects these spaces but also aligns with the adjacent olive trees which, thus, become integral to the house’s layout.

The exterior envelope is a lightweight metallic surface which wraps around and it is movable, to provide maximum flexibility. The envelope’s perforated textile-like pattern is inspired by the shade of the olive trees. As the sun moves during the course of the day the interior spaces are filled with ever-changing shadows.