Summer Story: A Contemporary Cretan Home

Blending Tradition and Modernity in Crete

At the foot of the Lefka Ori mountains in Crete, a French couple sought to create a haven for their extended family and immerse themselves in the pure Cretan environment. Designed by architect Natalia Kokosalaki, this stunning single-family house seamlessly blends traditional Cretan architecture with contemporary design elements, resulting in a home that feels both timeless and modern.

The design inspiration for this project came from the rich cultural heritage of Crete. The brief was composed as if it were the first page of a novel, narrating a summer day in this imaginary Cretan house and its rural surroundings. The concept focused on the direct connection between the indoors and outdoors, reflecting the Cretan way of life that embraces the earth, the olive trees, and the natural environment.

The unique strength of this design lies in its ability to capture the essence of a typical Cretan home while incorporating a contemporary approach. The large arched entrance leading to an enclosed courtyard evokes memories of the Venetians who once left their mark on the island. The house stands proud, simple, and distinguished, as if it has always been a part of the landscape.

Environmental and site analysis played a crucial role in the realization of this design. The orientation of the house was carefully considered to maximize views and take advantage of natural light. Local stone and ocher were used in the construction, paying homage to traditional Cretan architecture. All built-in furniture was crafted by local artisans, and wooden windows, doors, and shutters further enhance the connection to the region's architectural heritage.

With a total area of 250 square meters on a 4700 square meter plot of land, this summer house offers ample space for the family to gather and enjoy the Cretan lifestyle. The large stone arched entrance acts as a central focal point, seamlessly connecting the outdoor courtyard with the interior spaces, blurring the boundaries between inside and outside.

The construction of this remarkable home in Roustika, Crete, was completed in 2018. Throughout the design process, extensive research was conducted to ensure the integration of the house into its surroundings. Environmental analysis, including solar and wind studies, guided the orientation and layout of the house. Historical research informed the selection of construction materials and techniques, resulting in a design that respects the local architectural language and promotes the work of local artists and craftsmen.

This exceptional design project faced the challenge of combining traditional architectural elements with modern construction techniques. The goal was to create a home that seamlessly blends into the landscape, giving the impression that it has always been a part of the Cretan environment. By successfully overcoming this challenge, Natalia Kokosalaki has created a truly unique and captivating space.

Photographer George Messaritakis beautifully captures the essence of this contemporary Cretan home, showcasing its harmonious integration with the surrounding natural beauty.

This design has been recognized for its excellence and creativity, receiving the prestigious Bronze A' Design Award in the Architecture, Building, and Structure Design category in 2023. This award celebrates designs that demonstrate outstanding technical and creative skills, contributing to improvements in quality of life and making the world a better place.

Project Details and Credits

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

Summer Story IMG #2
Summer Story IMG #3
Summer Story IMG #4
Summer Story IMG #5
Summer Story IMG #5

Read More on Design Radiant