Architecture is a large scale artistic intervention in space. In addition to the characteristics of other arts, architecture is “obliged” to be “functional”, since the space it is applied is the space people live and operate.

It is a common perception, that the critical moment for an architect is the moment when he needs to start a design on blank paper. This perception is generally correct; however it is no longer valid when compared to the moment when a building stands before the architect, with the burden of dozens of years without a human presence in it, being “crippled” with small and bigger “wounds” from the wear of time. The moment when such a building “converse” with the architect desperately asking for help, is –trust me in saying that- the most difficult, since it needs not only to bring life back to it but also to restore its “soul”.

The situation mentioned above, is best illustrated through my personal experience in the case of villa “Euphoria”, from the day I first saw the building in the “Maroulas” settlement until the moment, two years –filled with intense efforts and agony- later, the lights were lit and people slept, laughed and breathed inside. Then comes the next critical moment, when one, must “feel” whether the “breath” given by those who were born and lived inside came back after all these years.
Everything created or reconstructed in the building was inspired and based in one principle: RESPECT. When the restoration project started, the building was a small family olive press, abandoned for more than 50 years. Its position and its architectural design confirm that it was part of the Venetian core of the settlement and based on these facts, the building was declared a landmark monument with the (nr. ) decree of the Ministry of Culture.

Next, it was decided that the building would be transformed to a luxury guesthouse and this decision was the basis of the designs and the restoration works, which longed for two years.

With respect in its architectural structure, its existing (original) stony masonry and its original openings, we used modern methods and technology in order to achieve a building which is perfectly safe and comfortable, so that is can provide its visitors the maximum possible Euphoria.

In the ground floor, the reception and residence areas develop in two premises, consisting of a lounge, a dining room and a kitchen. The large stony round table in the lounge is the olive press, which was used for the olive crushing and the oil extraction. We felt that this was an element that needed to remain in the area under any circumstances, as a trace of the last productive activity of the building.

The first floor is a sleeping area, consisting of two bedrooms with bathrooms, luggage area and washing machine-dryer-clothe area. On the second floor, there is a third bedroom with its own WC and the rest of the floor is an open –common- terrace with spectacular view which is used as an open dining area for the guests.

The basic connection between the floors is with an elevator, while there are also operational wooden staircases which have been designed as part of the decoration elements.

The decoration elements of the building were a personal choice of the architect and owner of the property. The furniture of the housing areas were chosen from the Roche Bobois Paris collection, the fixtures from the 2009 Foscarini Italy collection, along with a number of decorative pieces from the personal collection of the owner (such as paintings, original maps and engravings of Crete).

We believe that the result of our efforts lived up to the “hidden soul”, firmly held in the building during the pass of centuries.

Minos Alefantinos

villa euphoria eot