The word ‘OKU’ itself is derived from the Japanese architectural practice of ‘inner space’. For this reason, the use of architectural depth and purposeful spaces to create an inspiring environment is central to our hotel design principles. With this in mind, the striking architecture of OKU Kos was conceived by award-winning Greek design studio, Mastrominas Architecture. Their innovative design re-interprets traditional Greek architecture with a modern twist, using minimal and functional design principles, and reflecting local influences and cultural characteristics.
Mastrominas designed OKU Kos as a village-like collection of cubic buildings – echoing the architecture and culture of Kos island. Using a minimalist aesthetic and incorporating an island-village feel through the use of cobbled streets, unexpected openings, external stairs and in-built outdoor seating, set among a verdant landscape of olive groves, lavender bushes, palm, pine and cypress trees.
Materials are simple, using local stone, wood and cement, with a rough texture that casts unique shadows throughout the day, making the space feel as though it is constantly evolving. The spa is at the heart of the complex, with restorative wellness being a core part of OKU life. While the beach club connects the pool and beach, allowing views through to both sides where the colours and atmosphere transcend throughout the day.
Mastrominas was able to create a unique identity for OKU Kos, that incorporates the traditions of the location with the desires of the modern traveller to create a cosy, relaxing and atmospheric hotel space. Guests are made to feel that they have entered the tranquil haven of a like-minded community, while also having the luxury of private space to themselves.
The architectural design aims to provide the sense of living in a greek village by avoiding the photographic reproduction of the facades. To achieve that, the design procedure embedded into the fundamentals of traditional greek architecture and at the same time, to the abolishement of the stereotype of the typical resort hotel. To that end, we reinterpreted the key features of the local architecture by using a contemporary vocabulary that passes the spatial qualities of a greek village to a boutique hotel. The result is enhanced by the use of simple materials, raw surfaces, dry-stone walls and off-white cubic plain forms.
The main building is deconstructed into four individual buildings in a random arrangement forming the square of the village. The main public functions - entrance, reception, administration, shop and bar- are allocated on these four buildings and the open space in between, is a meeting point, exactly as it is in a greek village. Furthermore, the public area acquires the spatial arrangement of a settlement and the rooms are placed in groups forming neighborhoods.
The idea of the building is abolished on the restaurant and the facilities are freely placed under sheds. Sliding window frames hidden in special niches, unfold upon weather conditions, integrating interior with exterior, providing unobstructed views.
An effort has been made to use traditional building methods where possible. For example, the wall plastering that gives rustic shades on the facades. On the main square buildings, instead of concrete slab we used metal and wooden beams and slats with insulation and lightweight concrete on top.
The room typology consists of three different types and they are arranged in groups forming neighborhoods. Their allocation together with narrow paths, unexpected openings, external staircases and built outdoor sitting areas, refer to the spatial arrangement of the Aegean island villages. The buildings are framed by mediterranean plants: pines, palm trees, olive trees and aromatic herbs.