divorced houses

client: lekkou family

location: Kastri-N.Erithrea

architectural design: archivirus

date: 2009-present


Four totally independent housing units - two sisters - one site and one construction license, set the parameters for the design of the divorced houses. The task was really difficult since the site was limited in square meters and the construction regulations strict enough to not allow much flexibility in the general layout. For that reason the initiative idea was to treat the general volume as one body and then try to separate it into four different organs that can function autonomously but at the same time common elements relate them. The starting point was placing the orthogonal volume into the angular site facing the two main streets. According to client’s demand the two of the four houses were going to be inhabited by the two sisters while the other two were going to be used for rent. The client desired maximum independence in views and connectivity. So the goal was to break the initial volume in terms of height, connectivity and views. The idea was to play between three different levels and not four, breaking the volume in three smaller, each one on a different level starting from lower to higher. This simple separation lead to the lowest volume to be the house for the one sister and the highest for the other, while the middle one to be the two houses for rent. The second try was to achieve total separation between the lowest and the highest volume, that fortunately was possible according to building regulations. So at this point there are three volumes at three different levels which equals with two side volumes surrounded all around by autonomous yards and the middle volume divided in two separate houses with front, back and side yards. The last issue needed to be solved was the views. I tackled the three volumes like magnets which tend to abuse when you try to bring them together. So the highest and lowest volume obtained mainly corner views while the middle one faced only front and back. The general layout was almost conceived, except for terms of space the three volumes needed to get connected only on the first floor and just in the front facade in order to accommodate one more bedroom for each house unit. The final diagram of this project seems almost like the life diagram of a pair taking a divorce. Their lives are now separated but some relations can never be erased.