Block722 is an Athens-based architecture studio, founded in 2009 by architect Sotiris Tsergas and interior designer Katja Margaritoglou. The team combines Greek and Scandinavian heritage, as well as interdisciplinary experience, and creates work that feels confident, natural, and timeless. The studio undertakes a variety of work, from residential to commercial and hospitality, managing in-house all stages of architectural development, from concept design, through to construction and delivery. Solutions always incorporate a focus on quality materials, a crafts-based approach and collaborations with local artisans and artists that interpret the Mediterranean spirit and traditions for the 21st century. An architectural ethos that places a sense of balance at its heart is among this boutique, yet dynamic practice’s guiding principles. At the same time, Block722’s design solutions are strongly led by each project’s contextual needs and the client’s brief. As a result, the studio has won several high-profile awards and has been featured widely in Greek and international media.
Taking its cues from the landscape around it, Villa Apollon by Block722 sits on the southern edge of the Greek island of Lefkada. The project, completed in early 2021, developed by Hadamisteko and constructed by Paleros Dream Homes, effortlessly merges contemporary architecture with nature, making the most of its context, while respecting its green surroundings. Block722 architects were called to create a private holiday home, joined by a separate structure that houses four guest rooms. The plot is located on a cliffside overlooking the blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Entering the site from the topmost side, visitors are guided down to the main house via a wide ramp. From there, a series of paved terraces and a narrow, natural path lead to a small, secluded rocky beach below.
The site’s inclination was a challenge not only in construction logistics, but in design terms too. In order to navigate the steep slope, remain discreet and take advantage of the long views, Block722 created a house that is partially submerged into the earth. The architecture follows the natural topographic lines, which eventually defined the plan and roofline. This not only ensures the arrangement fits seamlessly and respectfully within the landscape and appears near invisible from the street above, but it also allows the interior to be neatly orientated towards the sea views.
Stepping in through the front door, large skylines, and a clear line of vision across the living room and towards the sea beyond, instantly introduces a sense of spatial drama. Further inside, the main house contains a large open plan living space, flanked by a master suite and two further bedrooms. A separate outdoors dining area and a shaded, fully equipped barbeque kitchen are placed next to a swimming pool. All rooms feature iroko wood-framed, floor-to-ceiling glazing towards the water, with the living area including openings on both the rear and front facades. Natural materials, in both the main home and the guest houses, complement the plastered concrete construction and nod to the wild Mediterranean vegetation around the site. As a result, the interiors are modern, but also feel tactile and richly textured. The floors are either natural stone or terrazzo made locally by a specialist craftsman. A contemporary wooden ceiling made of teak slats becomes a central feature in the living spaces. At the same time, bespoke solid timber doors enhance the overall sense that this retreat is anchored in its site, intrinsically connected to its context.