Situated along a beachfront coastal road near the Cypriot city of Paphos, the 20 acre Venus Rock will contain 165,000 square feet of retail, cultural and recreational spaces. Designed with the rustic charm of a traditional Cypriot stone village, the retail complex will serve as a town center for the adjacent New Secret Valley residential community, and will also become a destination on a regional scale for Cypriots and second-home owners from Cyprus and beyond.
The village is anchored to the west by a department store and to the east by a health and beauty spa, beach club, nightclub, and landscaped amphitheater. In between, retail buildings, cafes, and cultural buildings are casually clustered around squares and terraces that take advantage of the terrain and offer views to the sea. Restaurants spill out onto the plazas and open onto second-level balconies. Fountains and rills connect the village to its seaside site and help cool the outdoor spaces. Terraced olive groves and an herb garden provide paths for shaded strolling, and a chapel, stoa, and outdoor kiosks will provide cultural spaces.
The site, which is divided in half by a roadway, will be re-connected via a pedestrian bridge with views of the ocean. Vehicular access on both parcels is kept to the periphery to create a comfortable, walkable pedestrian precinct; parking and service functions are tucked into and under the sloping topography where possible.
Our strategies draw on many sources: the way the shops line the north side of the bridge between the two halves of the town is inspired by the Ponte Vecchio in Florence; in the tradition of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, winding alleys with two levels of retail open to intimate courts. The architectural vocabulary of stone and stucco buildings with wood pergolas pulls together strands of vernacular, Classical, and Modernist expression to weave a new expression appropriate to the climate of the region and to its cultural history.