Parallel House On Kea Earns Two Young Architects Domes Award

Date: 19.03.2019 / By Sakis Ioannidis / / Comments (0)

Located in a wild, inhospitable and isolated corner of the Cycladic island of Kea, the Parallel House took the prize for Best First Work by a Young Architect at this year’s Domes Greek Architecture Awards earlier this month. Katerina Kourkoula and Hannes Livers Gutberlet of the firm En Route designed a residence along the contours of the natural landscape, parallel to the island’s southeastern coast, looking out toward the nearby island of Kythnos.

The architects’ biggest challenge was to design a home that could be built on a steep hillside, at some distance from the nearest village and without access to the island’s road or utilities networks. The challenge called for a building that is almost self-sufficient – making use of “hidden” solar panels and a rainwater collecting and recycling system – and also protected from the powerful winds that often lash the Cycladic islands, yet still enjoys a sea view.

The Parallel House consists of a succession of rooms with large sliding windows showcasing the beautiful view. The utilitarian spaces, such as the bathrooms and kitchen, are at the back of the house, part of which is embedded in the hillside. The building is made of concrete, as the architects intended for it to make a statement with its presence rather than attempt to blend into the surrounding landscape.

The Parallel House is part of a residential triptych on Kea, together with the cube-shaped Neutral House, which is currently under construction, and the Vertical House, which is still on the drawing board.

“We let ourselves be guided by the limitations of the natural environment,” said the two young architects, whose philosophy has also served them well in the urban landscape of Athens.

London-born Kourkoula and Gutberlet from Heidelberg in Germany spent a good part of their lives and started their careers abroad, where they were firmly indoctrinated with the principles of social responsibility in architecture, before coming to Greece three years ago and starting En Route.

“The role of architecture has changed, so that it has a much greater responsibility, especially to a damaged environment,” said Kourkoula.

Working in Greece during the crisis has made architects here much more “inventive,” the pair said, stressing how financial limitations have affected budgets and materials. Most of the projects they are commissioned to do, moreover, involve remodeling flats in Athenian apartment blocks, which are also undergoing a transformation along with social shifts.

“The open-plan layout is gaining a lot of ground in apartment buildings, with the kitchen communicating with the living room,” they said. “People no longer want to live separately, isolated in different rooms.”

A shortage of free space in downtown Athens compelled the En Route architects to explore creative ways of using “forgotten spaces like interior courtyards and rooftops,” as was the case with an apartment they did on the hillside of Lycabettus.

The architects confirm that short-term property leasing, advertised on sites such as Airbnb, is the driving force shaping the Greek real estate market right now, and especially renovations.

“Sure, this has created job openings, but at the same time it is pushing up rental rates. We are very skeptical about where this phenomenon will lead,” they said.

Reviews & Comments ( has relaunched as the top Greek real estate and property website portal dedicated to Greece and Cyprus’ industry.’s members include top real estate agents, realtors, individual sellers, FSBO, sale by owners, architects, developers, construction companies, lawyers, notaries and others that advertise residential (house, home, land, apartments, flats, villas, land, parcels and commercial listings for those looking to buy, sell and rent across all of the Hellenic Republic. is like the MLS database portal that is advertised in the top Greek diaspora and international markets around the world to those looking to invest - including Australia, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, France, Europe, South Africa, Russia and everywhere else. Most foreigners start their home search in popular destinations like Mykonos, Chania, Crete, Athens, Thessaloniki, Cyclades, Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu, Ios, Lefkada and many more cities, prefectures and regions in Greece. has been featured in most Greek news media outlets and in some of the leading international publications in newspapers, magazines, websites, online news portals, television and radio. Notable publications featuring and its founder, Georgios Stroumboulis include the Wall Street Journal, G1 Brasil, India Today, Barron’s, El Mundo, Naftemporiki, Kerdos, Isotimia, Vradyni, Elefterotypia, Elefteros Typos, Imerisia, Ta Nea, Ethnos, Neos Kosmos,,,,,, People Greece,, Radio Neo Show, Antenna ANT1 Satellite TV, MEGA TV, Makedonia TV, Channel 9 (Το Α και το Ω των ακινήτων). is the only real estate website to have produced its own reality TV show called Hellenic Home Hunting ( Created, produced and edited by George Stroumboulis’ media company, BouliBrand (, this TV show caused an international media storm for controversy during the unstable economy period in Greece. Visit for the latest property listings and start your search, register for an account to sell or simply browse our news. Stay connected with us on Facebook (, Twitter (, LinkedIn (, YouTube (, and Instagram ( Use the hashtag #GPE360 and #HellenicHomeHunting.

featured on the front page of

The Only TV Show Promoting
Greek Real Estate to the World!