Askianos: A Testament to Traditional Cretan Architecture

Natalia Kokosalaki's Award-Winning Design Fuses Tradition with Minimalism

Askianos, a single-family house designed by Natalia Kokosalaki, is a unique blend of traditional Cretan architecture and modern minimalism. This design, a winner of the prestigious Silver A' Architecture, Building and Structure Design Award in 2023, offers a fresh take on summer living in Greece.

Askianos draws inspiration from the traditional architecture of Crete and a deep respect for the natural environment. The design incorporates local materials such as stone and ocher, reflecting the essence of pure Cretan living. Local craftsmen and artists have contributed to the home's unique character, from the built-in furniture to the fabrics and textiles, masonry stone, and handmade ceramic tiles.

Designed as a summer house for a family, Askianos is split into two volumes by a staircase that directs the view towards the summer sunset over the sea. The masses are embedded into the landscape, allowing the traditional elements and materials of Cretan architecture to merge seamlessly with clean, minimal design. This fusion invites both indoor and outdoor living, blending the building with the landscape.

The realization of Askianos was guided by environmental and site analysis, dictating the orientation of the house in relation to the prime views and the position of the sun. Local stone and ocher were used in the construction, and all built-in furniture was crafted by local artisans. In keeping with traditional Cretan architecture, the windows, doors, and shutters are all made of wood.

The 306 square meter home is built on a 716 square meter plot of land in Listaros, Crete. The design process involved extensive research, including environmental analysis, solar and wind analysis using computational tools, and view selection and framing from site visits. The result is a design that respects the local architectural language, integrates fully into its environment, and promotes local artists and craftsmen.

Askianos faced several challenges, including integrating the design into a small plot of land and respecting the natural topology. A large rock face on the side of the hill, considered a local landmark, had to remain untouched. From a social perspective, the design had to respect the local and historical design language. Despite these challenges, Askianos stands as a testament to the successful fusion of tradition and modernity.

In conclusion, Askianos is more than just a summer house; it is a celebration of Cretan culture and tradition. Its design, which won the Silver A' Design Award, showcases the remarkable level of excellence and innovation that Natalia Kokosalaki brings to the world of architecture. Askianos is a testament to the power of design to respect and enhance the natural environment, promote local craftsmanship, and create a space that truly feels like home.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Natalia Kokosalaki
Image Credits: Photographer: George Messaritakis
Project Team Members: Architect: Natalia Kokosalaki
Project Name: Askianos
Project Client: Natalia Kokosalaki

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