christos pavlou architecture designed The Garden House in the city of Nicosia, Cyprus seeking to bring nature back to the city while promoting shared spaces and social interaction by unifying the house and its private garden with the neighbourhood and the adjacent public park.

-text by the authors

Bringing nature back to the city although not a new idea it is a growing imperative especially for cities like Nicosia which has failed to make greenery and communal public areas a priority in its urban planning. 

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 though systematically forgotten and ignored, the urge to accelerate the process of incorporating nature in our cities in creative ways.

Our design emphasises 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. 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 house seeks to establish a unified relationship between the neighbourhood, the private garden and the public park. 

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 flow on the outer spaces and are organised 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.

About christos pavlou architecture

Christos Pavlou architecture studio was founded by Christos Pavlou in 2003 and is based in Nicosia, Cyprus. Although a small studio we do know how to take care of our clients in a very personal and friendly manner. Our practice is focused on housing, single residents, commercial as well as interior architecture. We listen, we search, we learn, we design. We are aware of and sensible to the environment, the land parameters, the specific site views, the climate conditions and the needs of our customers. 

The designs are distinguished by their formal simplicity, the integration of inside-outside, the contrasting realities and the in-between zones. Studio’s architecture is driven by the need for solving a complex program in a simple and clear manner. The concepts based on define, simple forms aiming to express the collective memory of a specific culture. Having said that forms do not always provide ready-made solutions but they are rediscovered during the design process. It is a stage by stage approach which allows the build-up of different special relationships and smooth transitions between spaces. Energy efficiency, automation technology, sustainability and ecological designs are part of our working procedure. 

The office has been awarded the Cyprus state architecture 1st prize award 2019 by the president of Cyprus in the category of outstanding architecture and is a nominee for the European Union Mies Van Der Rohe award 2021, Barcelona. Other selective awards include German design award winner 2020, A+Architizer awards 2020, USA (Jury and popular choice winner), Golden A’ design award and competition 2020 Italy.

Diagrams & Drawings

Facts & Credits
Project title  The Garden House in the city
Location  Nicosia, Cyprus
Completion year  2019
Gross built area  182 sq.m.
Architecture firm  Christos Pavlou Architecture
Structural engineer  Andreas Charalambous
Landscape  Solomou Landscaping
Mechanical engineer  G. Katsambas
Electrical engineer  eplan electrical consultants LLC.
Photography  unseen views by Charis Solomou

–  Cyprus state architecture 1st prize awarded by the president of Cyprus in the category of outstanding architecture.
– Nominated for the European Union Mies Van Der Rohe award 2022, Barcelona.
– Nominated for the building of the year award 2020, Archdaily, USA. 
– A+Architizer  jury  award 2020, New York City , USA.
– A+ Architizer popular choice award 2020, New York City, USA.
–  A’ design award and competition ( silver) 2020 Italy.
– BigSee architecture award 2020, Slovenia.
– Best single residence ( bronze), residential development awards, Greece. 
–  S.Arch architecture award ( Honourable mention), Tokyo, Japan.
–  Architecture Masterprize 2020, Los Angeles, USA.
–  Best of year design 2020 by Interior Design Magazine, New York City, USA.