A single-level structure of 198 square metres in Tinos has been wowing the international architecture scene since 2013.

Last week, the cavernous estate received The Plan Future Villas award at the International Perspective Architecture Forum that took place in the Lido as part of the Venice Biennale.

The Mirage House, conceived by Kois Associated Architects as ‘an invisible oasis’ overlooking the Aegean Sea, allows its residents to enjoy panoramic views without giving up their privacy.

The stunning villa, located in the northern side of the Cyclades, stands high on top of steeply-sloped rocky hills underneath its thoughtfully-positioned pool.

Acting as a roof, the pool not only provides thermal insulation but repels solar radiation and heat.

Stelios Kois’ intention was to integrate the building into the landscape, having the least impact possible on local architecture.

Mr Kois, who was born near Mount Athos amid the wild landscape of red earth and countless monasteries full of Byzantine icon paintings, has always drawn inspiration from the region’s mystical environment.

His university studies in Italy and Japan influenced his vision of architecture which formulated into a more pure and spiritual, yet strong and utilitarian expression of design.

“We wanted to make a house fused with its surroundings, an invisible oasis hidden from unsuspecting eyes,” the Kois Architects team explains on its website.
“The house 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.”

With a minimalist, Doric approach, the Kois ‘buried’ the living area under a rimless pool, mirroring its surrounds, creating the mirage visual effect from which the project got its name. The swimming pool vanishes into the Aegean horizon and becomes one with the seascape.

Meanwhile, all materials used were extracted from the vicinity and in fact have great insulating capacity while allowing layers of vegetation to grow on the surfaces, which helps to regulate the temperature.

“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,” say the architects.

“The water during the day reflects the surroundings and during the night, the star-filled night sky.”

The Mirage principal architect: Stelios Kois
Project leader: Nikos Patsiaouras
Design team: Filipos Manolas, Gaby Barbas, Giannakis Konstantinos