Architectural Design: Nikolaou Dimitra, Architect, M.Sc.U.CL.
Interior Design: Mavromataki Stavroula, Interior designer AKTO
The first phase of the planning and design of the villas it was taken place in November 2008. The design has taken into account the specific requirements that were imposed by the owners brief. The program includes the design of (8) eight, self-catering, luxury villas (detached houses), one or two floors high, with a total area between 80,00 - 100,00 m2 each and one building for communal facilities, in a site with total surface area 12.000m2. Each villa depending of the size will have, one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms and one separate WC, fully equipment kitchen and comfortable living room areas, indoors and outdoors, with a private swimming pool for each one. The planning permission for the villas was completed in December 2010 and the building construction was started immediately. In May 2012 six villas were competed, the other three buildings will be started to built next year. The collaboration with the owner was very successful. We were very much in common in crucial decisions having always a very constructive collaboration. In that sense almost everything we have in mind from the very beginning of the project finally was realized.
As generally speaking the tourist installation is situated in a environment with particular characteristics as far as the place and physiognomy of the ground in terms of natural elements, as its adjacency with interesting traditional spots. Situated on the beautiful north-west coast of Crete in the village of Kastelli, the You-Phoria villas have been designed to enjoy a privileged hillside position overlooking the stunning Gramvousa peninsular and the turquoise waters of Kissamos Bay and are surrounded by lush olive groves.
The building's construction is harmonized with the character of the region in which it belongs and aims at the creation of a resort of special requirements that will be addressed in a high standards touristic market. It provides a luxury holiday living individually designed each one to have its own unique living space with the emphasis being both in indoor and on outdoor entertaining, dining and relaxing spaces.
The construction in the particular place constituted an enormous challenge for our architectural team. To my point of view, generally speaking, site characteristics are more important than the program requirements, especially there where, the place is highly demanding, the landscape is so much dominant and impressed and the view exceptional: a vast expanse of a smooth bent of ground hillside overlooking the Kissamos bay, terraced agricultural banks with olive trees, a very characteristic greek landscape , by an approximate height of 1.5 m, supported by the containment walls of stone.
The basic element in which the architectural approach is based on is first and foremost the better possible adaptation and the incorporation of buildings in the natural landscape with regards to the configurations of volumes of buildings in relation to the physiognomy of the ground, the bas-relief, pezoules and anabathmoi, their morphological characteristics, together with the possibility of unhindered view for all the residences. The typology is derived from the contradicting idea of a "shelter" with a series of open spaces "transparency" that generate functionally and visually the connection with the environment especially in the front facade where are the best visual. The construction is using an outcropping of rock in the back of the houses, creating a winder area to stand the house, re-shape the slope, with fewer beds and wider. This is accompanied by the construction of reinforced concrete walls coated in stone, physically introducing the existence of this element and imposing rough.
The proposal reproduces the elements of the landscape, uses the formation of the slots and the materiality of the ground in order to create the form of the buildings. It creates indoor spaces, like houses, using the form of stone walls, imitating the man made landscape formations, houses that pops up discreetly from the ground. It uses the stone that results from the excavations, as the main structural material of buildings.
The basic material is the white stone which is the component of the site soil. The use of stone was dominant in our thought from the initial stage of design, all the material are chosen to fit better with the stone in terms of color, texture and light. The stone construction makes the base of the building coated all the ground floor spaces. The compact stone walls of buildings are based in the natural slot and constitute the structural and simultaneously morphological formation of the building's part that is organized in the ground floor. Above the stone bases pop up the volumes of rooms, clearly geometrical forms, like enormous verandas with direct view the sea. At the front lies a large sliding glass overlooking the sea, behind which lie the different areas of the house.
The villas are independent, are distributed scattered in the ground, they are split in, as much as possible in smaller volumes for the maintenance of human scale and better harmonization with the landscape and they are found in distance from each other, so that are ensured the privacy and the unhindered view to the sea, have separate accesses, separate free spaces - courtyards and separates outdoor swimming pools. The facilities are organized in two levels. Each one has direct access to the outdoor space. The internal spaces are supplemented with, sufficiently shaped outside spaces with marble tiles covered courtyard as well as green, flower-beds and rows of trees areas.
The swimming pool is placed in direct relation with the space of living room at the level of ground floor and is the continuation of one conceivable internal living room space while it allocates comfortable and enough space for outside facilities. An internal "street" of pedestrian movement is created that it is moved in step with the ground [isoypseis] and with intermediary [platomata] for parking places. All villas can be reached by the car. In each villa exists an accommodated with shadow screen pergola space. The residences are separated from each other with low stone benches and green areas.
The basic decision of incorporation of the building volumes as much as is possible in the ground, in combination with the bas-relief, it creates a extensive system of stonewalls "anavathmoi" that entertain spaces for extensive planting.
The gardens have been thoughtfully planted with endemic shrubs, flowers and trees which are complimented by traditional stone walls that blend into the natural environment. The planting of environment of villas aim at the physical upgrade and maintenance of the natural physiognomy of the region with the suitable choice of plant types. In the spaces that belongs to the verandas, plants of "ornamental" Mediterranean flora are proposed but also from regions with similar climatic and land conditions. Widest surrounding space is included in the outdoor operation of living, aspart of the recreation of visitors, offering the possibility of walk, view etc, maintains the character of the wider region with vegetation olives but also locally bushy vegetation as schina, cedars, etc.
Details for Charisma
Charisma is the biggest villa of the complex, with a total surface 110,00m2, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen,dining, living room and a separate w.c. It is structured over two distinct floors and throughout the property. Access to the villa is via the ground floor. You can reach the ground floor taking the stairs from the parking area which is in a lowest level 2,50m underneath. The entrance opens to a spacious living room with comfortable sofas, with a modern cast iron fireplace.
Seating there, you can have a direct view to the swimming pool and the area around with sea view. In this level there is an open plan kitchen fully furnished with white painted wooded shelves and a Corian work surfaces with a dining area in the middle opens both side.
From the ground floor you can take an interior cast iron staircase, with wooden steps leads to the master bedroom which is on the first floor and has a large balcony to the front and access to a unique private outdoor seating space to the side. The spacious en-suite bathroom has a relaxing Jacuzzi bath, the walls are coated with plaster with cement in off gray color. The colored glass is a dominant material that provides a nice color light in the area.
As a separation between the bathroom and the bedroom area a perforated wooden wall with a nice pattern is designed creating an interesting atmosphere with light and shadow, that provides separation and continuity at the same time. The floors are covered with extra sized granite gray-brown tiles(0.60X 1.20). From the living room, on the ground floor, you can reach the second double bedroom that provides the house which has a separate entrance with large terrace doors with access to the panoramic terrace. It has an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in Spa shower area.
Facing the view there are many wall to wall windows providing uninterrupted views of the Aegean Sea, there are many large "picture" windows which allow sunlight to flood in and provide panoramic views from any room.
The outdoor area is a large factor in the design of the villa with much indoor space flowing through to external space with either private balconies or terraces. It has a large outdoor dining area with a specifically designed pergola that gives you sunshine but also a little shadow.
Villa Charisma has a spacious, natural stone terrace which dominates the front of the property and has a private infinity pool where you can admire the inspiring views of Aegean Sea.
The final design is very closed to my first ideas. As usual, when something is finished you realize that you could make it different or slightly different. Architectural design is a never ending story. You have to stop somewhere and I believe I have stop in a very crucial step.
The fact, that I most enjoy in this project is that the owners, as the construction was proceeding, they realize more and more how much they like the project and how well this is fitted to the environment, this is the thing that they like better.
This was a very difficult project, we had to work very hard to complete it and of course this is not one man show, we take the opinion of the experts for many aspects, but the most helpful and above all was the positive participation of the owner in every stage of the design and construction and this is the thing that I appreciate more.
Looking back the "transparent" shelter was the main idea, "shelter" because it should be hidden to the ground, to be as invisible as it could be and "transparent' because from everywhere, in every room, inside and outside, you could have a nice view of the exterior space. That happens not only because the walls, interiors and exteriors have a transparency, either with the continuous openings, or with the transparent materials that we use for the interior arrangement, but mainly because the spatial arrangement of the overall design in terms of master plan the actual place of its villa in terms of place and level have take into account the idea of spatial transparency.
Those two key concepts I feel are very important for the understanding of the project and those are the two things that I love better,both the designers and the owners.