Just fifteen kilometers from Heraklion in the settlement Vlachiana, there is an old stone house, built amphitheatrically at an altitude of about 600 meters. Its construction, according to testimonies, dates back to 1914, while it has remained uninhabited since the 1940s. The main trunk of the structure were two adjacent stone houses. The location, the age of the building and its modern function, were an occasion for discussion and thought, in terms of architectural treatment.
A basic principle for the proposal of restoration and integration of new uses in the historic building was that each new intervention respects and highlights its morphological characteristics. The symbolic value and hierarchy of existing relationships and spaces, which is accompanied by corresponding constructions and materials (floors, frames, wall and floor decorations) is further highlighted. Such a view catalyzes the design of interventions and helps users to understand and appreciate the historical and aesthetic value of the building.
The architectural interventions aim at the modernization of the building, they are discreet and express its time. The static solution preferred left the existing shell as unchanged as possible, while making the operation visible. The modern additions are differentiated from the initial historic formations to indicate the late application, while the finishes used for their construction are compatible with the building materials of the existing structure.
The two two-storey houses were converted into a hotel. On the ground floor, the north house consists of the entrance lobby, the reception, the seating area with the fireplace and the dining room. The space on the NE side holds its usage as a kitchen, while on the NW border are the quarters of the mill and the press, which are used as showrooms and rest areas for guests. In the south house, two more living rooms were created.
Access to the floor is via an internal staircase, which is accompanied by an impressive handmade railing. At this level, the north and south houses have been integrated, creating five waiting areas. it worths to observe their variety in the layout, as well as in the furniture and materials used, while the austerity is combined with the traditional architecture.
East of the main building, the surviving warehouse is utilized as a storage room for goods on the ground floor, while the basement is operated as a mechanical chamber. Also, the area north of the warehouse works as a substantial parking space for guests.
Because of the amphitheater location of the settlement, the visitor has the opportunity to admire the sunrise, as it emerges behind the massive volumes of the Lassithi mountains. The specialy designed corners add (both internally and externally) a significant character and identity to the space, aiming to provide a contemporary living environment. To conclude, the building manages to harmonize with the aesthetic and technological needs of today, giving the visitor the opportunity to taste a holistic experience.