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“Meden agan”: small island getaway seeks old Greek simplicity

On the boat from Athens to a camping trip on Kea Island, Takis Yalelis began sketching a house that explored “the threshold between what is camping, what is absolutely necessary to be sheltered and what is not necessary at all so you feel you’re out there you’re a little bit exposed, you get out in the middle of the night and you’re a little bit scared. You get a little bit wet in the winter, you become part of these elements.”

His friend Giorgos saw the sketch and hired him to design it for him for the unbuilt land they were about to visit. “The Camping House” is two white boxes, or rooms (one a bedroom, the other a living room/guest room), whose layout boxes off an outdoor space that becomes a kitchen (covered only by a semi-permeable reed roof).

Like the ancient Greek saying “Meden Agan”, or “nothing in excess”, inscribed at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the Camping House strives to provide only the essentials so the living experience remains connected to the natural beauty of the island.