Paly Architects is based in Athens and designs all kinds of projects, from store interiors to large public buildings. But their favourite type of project is the private luxury residence, in this case far away from Athens, in Livadia, on the island of Crete.
The vacation residence in Livadia designed for a luxury tour operator is exactly the kind of home we imagine when we think of a “dream vacation in Greece”. It stands on the island’s western tip, high above the sea on Cape Koutoulos, surrounded by Mediterranean scrub adding touches of green to the pale rock cliffs descending to the waves of the sea below.
Constructing a building in an uncontaminated natural environment demands a lot of good sense. Paly Architects demonstrate that they have plenty, choosing a low, streamlined profile for the home, on a single floor, following the shape of the rock to limit the need for excavation and embankments. Not only this, but the materials used to build the home were all locally sourced, to reduced transportation and integrate the home into its surroundings without excessively disturbing the landscape.
A road paved with pale stone rises beside a dry stone wall up to the level of the home, where a large outdoor space provides parking and access to the home through a solid wood door. A separate entrance in the reed fence leads directly into the courtyard running all along the side of the house.
The residence designed by Paly Architects has an elongated shape oriented longitudinally in relation to the entrance door. Upon entering, we find ourselves in the common area, with a large island kitchen and a dining table for ten. Through big sliding glass doors, which can be opened up completely, we can see a second dining table on the outdoor patio, sheltered by a sunshade. Beyond the dining area is the living room, with sofas, an armchair and a television. Across from it in the courtyard, the solarium and lounge chairs anticipate the immediate vicinity of a twenty-seven metre long infinity pool, ending in a hydromassage area. Along the pathway between the pool and the home, sheltered from the sun by a reed pergola, are four separate entrances to four deluxe double rooms, each with its own bathroom.
Big windows surround the entire perimeter of the home, clearly revealing that the inhabitants naturally prefer outdoor spaces to indoor ones. The entire courtyard centres around the swimming pool, with a number of lounge and relax areas: swinging chairs, deck chairs, footstools, a solarium and flowerbeds surround the pool, paved with an alternation of stone slabs and wooden planks. A large terrace is suspended over a structure made of profiles, beyond the dry stone wall surrounding the building, to provide an even better view, if that were possible, over the crystalline sea of Crete and the rocking tip of Cape Koutoulos.
The interiors are simple and plain but thoughtfully designed, revealing skilled and varied use of materials: leather or canvas sofas, bamboo chairs, matt black steel lamps, cactuses and sago palms are arranged on the stone slabs of the floor. There are no paintings on the dry-stone walls, plastered in some places and left bare in others. Paly Architects’ residence in Livadia was completed at the end of 2018.
Plot area: 4.800 sq.m.
Building Surface: 216.00 sq.m.
Study Coordinator: Nikos Lykoudis
Architects: Nikos Lykoudis, Ismene Papaspiliopoulou, Marina Gkolfomitsou, Konstantinos Platyrrachos, Katerina Argyropoulou, Eleftheria Chatzi
Structural engineer: Apostolos Andreadis
Decoration: Manos Kypritidis
Photo: George Anastassakis