Location: Santorini, Greece
Location Address: Episkopi Gonia
Status: Completed Works
This modern way of thinking where design assigns priority to the reason and function is everywhere in traditional architecture of Santorini. Nature is the chief designer: climate, earthquakes, materials scarcity, and topography had been the primary design parameters, and were respected with admirable integrity and ingenuity.
The vernacular architecture of Santorini is a splendid example of a built space skillfully adapted to a harsh natural setting, a natural example of the interaction between the four elements (fire, water, earth, air) of nature according to ancient philosophy. The landscape still bears clear marks of the gigantic volcanic eruption that gave the formation of the island as it is today.
In such context, the respect of the landscape, that its beauty and uniqueness were created from a massive destruction, is the only way. Contemporary architecture of Santorini should respect and highlight the tradition and combine it with the modern design. Those were the thoughts during the design process of the Estate’s Argyros new winery premises by Oikos Architecture.
Estate’s Argyros new winery premises construction was finished in 2016. Estate Argyros was established in 1903 and is run today by Matthew Argyros, 4th generation of winemaking and 8th generation of viniculture. Located in the heart of estate’s vineyards, in Episkopi Gonia, surrounded by 42ha of vines, including some of the oldest vines on the island (over 150 years old). Estate’s Argyros new premises consist of the wine tasting hall, the offices area, the chemical laboratory and cellars area.
Oikos Architecture got the lead at new winery premises project after the completion of the bearing structure. Building’s wrong orientation in the land, regarding the view and the vineyards, was the most important problem architects’ had to overcome. Architects’ main concept was to turn building’s axes to the sea view and the vineyards. Estate Argyros is the only winery in Santorini that is placed among perfectly aligned vines. Our aim was the new winery to be a conceivable extension of the vineyards as it emerges through the old vines.
The source of design inspiration was the traditional architecture of Santorini through a modern point of view. Vaults, arched windows, solid volumes, niches, thick masonry walls with small openings, the whitewashed plaster skin, all the traditional architectural elements were deconstructed and reformed into a contemporary way. The main design idea and priority was to create a construction in perfect harmony with the stunning natural environment, emerged through the vineyards, that would be characterized by simplicity, plasticity and scale, combining the traditional airy architecture of Santorini with the modern design.
The sequence of the great arches at the entrance orientated to the vineyards, the white, organic, flowing sculpture ceiling at the main wine tasting hall and the grand arched openings consist the most important reference to the traditional architecture of Santorini. The main color inside the winery is the pure white of minimalist Cycladic architecture. The use of natural materials, warm inviting color palette, elegant furniture with references to traditional elements and a touch of modern design, create a relaxing and sensational ambience indoors and outdoors, ideal for exploring and tasting the indigenous grape varieties in perfect harmony with the unique spirit, eternal beauty and energy of authentic Santorini.
Photography by Michalis Kouvalis