During 2015, Human Point completed a 3-year study funded by the European Union and titled “House Income”, which explored the planning and construction of agritourism projects that generate direct revenue, through the provision of tourism services and the market of processed agricultural products, and indirect revenue from the utilization of renewables and architectural, constructional sustainability. The revival and evolution of rural domestic economy – using modern terms – combined with tourist accommodation products were identified as sources of inspiration.
For the first implementation the area of “Poseidonia” was considered, located in the island of Syros, Greece on a sloping 5.5 acre parcel with spectacular view to the sea and the West. The main intention of the research group was to make this project the exemplar model of environmental and economic viability. The building program includes four tourist houses, standard agricultural processing and storage space, one small guard house, underground water tanks for self-sufficiency up to 80% of the unit, ground photovoltaic systems for 100% self-sufficiency in electricity and four acres of crop area. Goji berry seedlings were selected after studying the international market for farmable products, cultivation convenience and soil analysis.
The secondary aim of this study was to adapt the housing complex to the particular characteristics of the island environment, as well as, to the delicate landscape and relief of the site. The composition was developed directly in relation to the ground excluding a two-storey building, while the elongated features of the parcel surface form its linear character. In combination with soil morphology, this linearity follows the direction of the elevation curves, achieving a gentle adaptation of the housing complex to the natural landscape. The horizontality of the composition and the linear stone retaining walls refer to the dry stone walls. Throughout this synthetic structure, the layout opens up to the West, taking advantage of the sea view, the sunset, and the extended sunshine, while at the same time it serves as a wind barrage from the North.
An additional feature of the synthetic structure is the clear separation of the basic functional modules, namely between the crop area, the main areas and the support areas. The separation is achieved by height, as the steep slope areas of cultivation are placed at the highest level, followed by the main lodging areas and by the support areas, the entrance and the parking spaces at the lower level.
The morphological treatment and adaptation to the particular characteristics of the island, as well as, the natural landscape were attempted through the scale of the proportions of the terrain, the respect for the terrain, the use of stone, as well as the relationship between the gaps and full aspects. The stone is the dominant structure material, while the dialectical relationship between the uncoated and the coated surfaces attempts to be emphasized through the morphing of the openings.
A detailed business plan was developed over a decade, leading to conservative conclusions that a 50% surplus and an 18% annual return is generated. The spatial and building development of the 'tourist accommodation - rural business' model through successful architectural, construction and business typologies serves as a revenue generating engine.