Diomed Villas

Role: Masterplanning, Architecture, Interiors & Landscape Design
Completed 2010

Facing the sunset west of the azure sea, the Diomed Villas are embedded into a rocky coastline. Close by, fragments of a temple and pottery adorned with Greek graffiti reading ‘ΔIOMEΔI ΔOPOΝ’—’Gift to Diomed’— found.

Archer Humphryes, worked with the overriding planning constraints of coastal setbacks, plot proximities, gradient guidelines and highway infrastructure to satisfy local government, where new permits for development directly above the shoreline – a technological achievement in an earthquake zone. Geographical sensitivity was the prevailing order of the architectural language conceived for the project, along with the precision of the concrete structure, providing a deep, cantilevered terrace and ‘picture windows’ hanging at a similar gradient to that of the cliff.

After being granted permission to proceed, the ambition for Archer Humphryes was to achieve full sea views, a sense of privacy from adjacent properties, a combined balance between the cantilevered superstructures of the villa buildings, anchored rooms, gardens carved from the natural topography of the rock and subterranean spaces for parking, while avoiding extensive earthworks on the site—a limitation set by the permitting authority. A master plan was generated, carefully balancing individual villa positions with adjacent structures. An overarching principle was where to place openings for internal drama and at the same time create a rhythm along the coast alternating between natural terrain, inserted gardens and the structures of the nine properties.

The use of crystalline render with fragments of mica and facing stone from Salona creates an envelope for the modern form with generous terraces punched into the layout. Recessed elements of the architecture are accented with incarnadine red— Pools have infinity edges lined in pristine white limestone with rubble masonry, a contrasting imperfection in line with the rustic quality of the natural rock of the cliff.