Architectural plan: Chiara Armando - Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos - Vasileios Mathioudakis
EUROPA

POLYERGO, a local company based in Rethymno, in close collaboration with Chiara Armando, a young Italian freelance architect and interior designer, working both in Italy and Crete, together with architect Vittoria Spinoni, designed and constructed a summer house, in Rethymno, on the island of Crete, in strong connection with the genius loci, where to forget the superfluous and reconnect with the unspoiled nature that surrounds it and its slow rhythms. Integration into the landscape, the imperative!

A few steps far from the ancient village of Kato Mixorròuma – whose design references are many – in the prefecture of Rethymno, the building sits on a steep slope, following its orography.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Inserted between an old oak tree on the West and an Aloni – low circular stone construction used for agriculture – protected by the Archaeological Institute on the East, the house opens towards the South while maintaining a more reserved and closed profile on the North towards the new village.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

“The essential shapes and materials – stone, wood, metal and plaster – while declined with a contemporary language echo the traditional architecture”.

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

The avlì – courtyard and the imposing staircase become the fulcrum and distribution axis of the entire project around which the three new volumes of the house revolve: a clear reference to the typical houses on its slopes.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

The staircase, characterized by a funnel shape, directs, without interruption, the view of the guest towards two focal points, which bring him/her back to the outside and to the surrounding landscape.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

“Internally it separates the living room from the kitchen and leads to the bedrooms and services located on the lower levels”.

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

The main access from the North-side leads directly into the living area, located on the upper level and characterized by a large corner door-window that opens onto the swimming pool – set on one of the volumes of the sleeping area – creating a strong internal-external connection.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

A bond that can be traced in all spaces thanks to an exterior design without clear visual barriers and to the choice of planting plant essences typical of the place also in the land owned.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

The essential interiors with some hints of tradition, however, do not give up modern comforts, preferring oak wood and its warm shades and natural materials such as jute, linen and cotton fibres for fabrics.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

The custom-designed furniture recalls the mashrabiya technique in their weaves: small elements in inlaid wood, assembled according to geometric and complex design, form a narrow grid with which the windows of the bay windows called kioski of Ottoman tradition which characterize the island.
Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Architectural plan: Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni, Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO), Photo © Vasileios Thanopoulos – Vasileios Mathioudakis

Bioclimatic
Thanks to a careful initial analysis and some targeted design choices, the home does not require air conditioning.
General plan, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Ground floor plan, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

-1 floor plan, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

The stair axis, in fact, acts as a natural ventilation chimney, especially useful for summer cooling, while the hill, in direct contact with the lower part of the house, favors a constant internal temperature.
South elevation, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

North elevation, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

East elevation, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

West elevation, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

The masonry of the most exposed upper volume, thanks to its considerable thickness, has good thermal inertia, while the dimensions of the metal canopy calculated ad hoc favor a correct summer/winter solar radiation.
Section A-A, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Section B-B, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Section C-C, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Finally, also the swimming pool, located on part of the sleeping area, assists in the function of controlling and absorbing solar heat. Two solar panels provide hot water throughout the year.
Site analysis, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Project study, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Details of mashrabiya technique, © Chiara Armando – Vittoria Spinoni – Yiannis Polychronakis (POLYERGO)

Facts & Credits:

Project title: Cretan Summer House, Location: Rethymno – Crete – Greece, Clients: Private, Architectural plan: Architect Chiara Armando with Architect Vittoria Spinoni for POLYERGO, Interior design: Architect Chiara Armando for POLYERGO, Engineer: Stavros Polychronakis (POLYERGO Owner), Landscape design: Architect Chiara Armando – Vasiliki Chatzidaki (Agronomist for POLYERGO), Project manager: Yiannis Polychronakis (Civil Engineer MSc – MEng | POLYERGO Owner), Construction: POLYERGO, Project year: June 2019, Custom – made furnishing: Pesvanti K. Sons I.Κ.Ε., Text description: Architect Chiara Armando for POLYERGO, Photography: Vasileios ThanopoulosVasileios Mathioudakis