Nicosia is currently Europe’s last divided city, with the northern (Turkish) and southern (Greek) sections separated by a UN buffer zone. This continuing division is central to the city’s ongoing problems, restricting development and creating complex problems for future planning.
Bringing nature back to the city is a growing imperative. As stated by Christos Pavlou Architecture, nominated for the European Union Mies Van Der Rohe award 2021, the city has failed to make greenery and communal public areas a priority in its urban planning despite there’s a government programme including incentives for developing private properties within the Nicosia and Ayios Dometios municipalities that are in close proximity to the Green Line. (source: Cyprus Conference)
During lock-down we rediscovered the essential value of our houses, realising once again our need for more outdoor areas, balconies and rooftops to exercise and practise our hobbies.
The need to freely breakout to enjoy open-air spaces and connect with nature and neighbours has become more desirable than ever during the pandemic. But again the virus issue came only to emphasise what is already known through systematically forgotten and ignored, the urge to accelerate the process of incorporating nature in our cities in creative ways.
The Garden House by Christos Pavlou Architecture is a project inspired by the will of bringing nature back to the city, promoting shared spaces and social dialogue between the residents.
Christos Pavlou Architecture emphasised the potential for private urban gardens and the microclimates they create to improve living conditions within cities and slow global warming.
Not hiding behind fences and fully glazed on one side, our proposal aims to form a physical continuation of the adjacent public green area. The house seeks to establish a unified relationship between the neighbourhood, the private garden and the public park.
Urban elements such as building, street and public space are not treated as absolute activities in isolation but as one single homogeneous configuration as the house becomes part of the park and the park is included in the house.
The integration of green areas into the house incorporates the planting of gardens on 60% of the ground floor, the use of green terrace on the first floor, the provision of bee-friendly landscapes and 40 kinds of native wildflowers.
All areas inside the Garden House flow on the outer spaces and are organized around a green central courtyard placed in-between two white cubic volumes. Making space for nature in the city not only brings beauty to the urban fabric but encourages the return of local bird species and bees maintaining thus urban biodiversity; furthermore, it promotes human health and well-being.
Photography: unseen views by Charis Solomou