Architects: Weinstein Vaadia Architects
Location: Kibbutz Yiron, Galilee, Israel
Area: 3700.0 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Amit Geron
From the architect. The young but well-acclaimed winery commissioned a building which would itself be an iconic marketing tool for the new brand. The building functions both as a factory for the production of wine and as a visitor center that exposes the process of wine production. Jewish dietary laws forbid any non-religious person to touch the wine until it is hermetically bottled. This restriction posed a unique challenge in planning the factory tour, requiring an absolute separation between visitors and the wine in its various stages. The plan of the building is therefore based on its paths of circulation: one route for the wine, another for the visitors.
The materials signify the separate functions: oak planks accompany the visitors on their route, while aluminum cladding envelops the factory areas. Phase II expands the Galil Mountain Winery by 800 square meters and more than doubles its storage capacity, adding 960 barrels to the existing 800. The new building includes a bottling room, barrel storage hall, and auxiliary spaces. It is connected to the main production hall via an enclosed passage, and continues the visitors' promenade through the original building through a steel footbridge.
The original and new buildings differ in form: the earlier one is a free-standing composition of wood and corrugated metal-clad masses, while the new building is buried into the ground. The new building’s few exterior walls are made of concrete covered with raw limestone. The roof is a living, green plane that will in time become host to local vegetation and take on the appearance of a wild meadow.
Despite their opposite formal concepts, however, the design strategies for the two phases are driven by the same spirit, which positions the building in harmony with nature: the original building is experienced as a continuum of framed views of the stunning Galilee landscape; the new building is intended to disappear into the landscape, as well as create a new one on the living roof.
Burying the new building is a building performance strategy as well as a formal and environmental one: it returns the wine to the cellar and provides optimal thermal conditions for its storage. The thermal mass of the earth and the half-meter thick exterior walls help maintain the required 16 degree Celcius temperature and 85% humidity. The rest of the work is carried out by a mechanical system that links to the one in the main building.