Architects: Eleftheria Tzanaki
Location: Heraklion, Greece
Architect in Charge: Eleftheria Tzanaki
Area: 418.0 sqm
Project Year: 2013
Photographs: Erieta Attali
Structural Engineer: Manolis Matzapetakis
Mechanical Engineer: Spyros Makrakis
(From the architect: the project is devoted to my parents for the precious help that they have contributed to me). The building is the result of integrative work between many people, leaded by the Architect. That’s why, during the evaluation of a built project it should be counted in not only its functionality, statics and aesthetics, but also the site that the construction is taking place, the existence or not of the proper workers to construct it. The referred building is placed in Crete, a Mediterranean island that has a limited number of specialized teams of workers. So, the difficulty of construction is increased, as well as from the fact that the Architect of the referred building is also one of the main owners, the contractor, the supervisor, the project manager.
The building is an urban two-family housing with a store in the ground floor area and mechanical as well as storage spaces at the basement, all stacked one above the other. The corner site is situated in a residential area close to the city center. Its pentagonal shape, as well as the conservative building codes of the area have become an obstacle, but also have become a challenge not only for the design but also for the method of construction. The function of each level of the building are reflected to its facades: big, transparent glass panels in the ground floor indicate the commercial functionality of the interior space, two white, sculptural volumes as well as two volumes made of horizontal louvers, placed one above the other, giving privacy to the interior spaces, indicate the two apartments. Also, the vertical column made of vertical strips of opaque glass (U-glass) reflects the staircase and the lift of the building.
The two maisonettes have the same plan, some different interior decoration elements, adjusted to the personality of each owner. Each residence consists of two levels. All the public spaces of the residence are one united space: entrance, living room, dining room, kitchen. The main design element is the double height of the living and dining room, as well as the wall of 5.5 meters height, that is one major interior façade of the house and includes the bookcases, the fireplace, the bridge, which connects the upper level with a second entrance and gives the user the chance to watch the living space from bird view. In the lower level it is also placed the master bedroom, a bathroom and a storage space. In the upper floor are the rest private spaces: two bedrooms and a second bathroom. The residence has four verandas, as the Cretan climate allows the use of outdoor spaces for the most of the year.
Sustainable design elements of the apartments: the design of the building has as a major target the energy saving and the thermal comfort of its users. The three main facades have orientation east – south – west. The climate in Crete is quite warm: winter time is mainly from December till March. So, the main need is the cooling of the building and less the heating.
A. The building has extra thermal insulation in its shell and in the terrace.
B. The glass panels of the openings are double, with a proper membrane for not letting the solar radiation to come into the space.
C. The double height space helps the hot air that always moves upper, to get out through the higher openings.
D. All the openings are quite big, so that to let the sun come inside during winter time. In contrary, during summer time, the sun is blocked from both the low-e glass openings and the horizontal dense louvers that create a mask outside of the residence.
E. The sustainable fireplace gives the opportunity for more heating, whereas there is an air-conditioning system for cooling that saves energy.
Materials: The structure of the building is made out of concrete. Moreover, white and light grey color is selected for the wall painting, in order to block the absorption of solar radiation. The horizontal louvers are made of aluminum, paintedgrey. In the interior space, the minimalist white is the protagonist that is in contrast with the wooden floors, which create calm but at the same time vivid living spaces.