PhotographsCourtesy of grieve gillett
Yalumba is Australia’s oldest and most successful family owned winery. The company’s success is driven by tradition and innovation.
To mark Yalumba’s 160th year, Grieve Gillett were commissioned to design a flagship dining and wine tasting area for important clients and associates, within the fabric of the original State Heritage listed Main Administration Building at Angaston.
The following principles guided the project: retention and celebration of existing heritage qualities, a clear distinction between existing fabric and new work and recognition of Yalumba’s ethos of tradition and innovation.
The new facilities comprise the renovation of the subterranean ‘Signature Cellar’, providing a clear span function area; and the conversion of underground concrete wine tanks into private dining and wine tasting rooms, with new kitchen & service areas.
The Signature Cellar was stripped of extraneous elements and the concrete floor re-finished. A central row of columns was removed and a transfer beam introduced, allowing greater flexibility in the use of the space. The transfer structure was incorporated into a new barrel racking system displaying the collection of ‘Signature’ barrels. Discreet lighting was provided – concealed between exposed timber joists and behind barrels highlighting the original rubble walls. The result is a clean, functional open space with richly textured surfaces.
Adjacent to the Signature Cellar are the former open ferment concrete winemaking tanks. The two largest tanks offered a unique opportunity for conversion to tasting and dining spaces. Grieve Gillett approached this challenge by minimising intrusions into the spaces to emphasise the beauty of the existing building fabric and spatial proportions.
Existing paraffin wax sealed concrete tank walls with wine stained patina were protected and retained. New work was designed to appear as a discreet insertion. In the Dining and Tasting rooms, ‘gondolas’ of hoop pine plywood are suspended from the tank roof. These floating elements provide a planar overhead element in the 20m long rooms, concealing light fittings, sprinklers, audio, a/c and acoustic baffling. The ribbed gondolas are open at the edge feathering the view through to the tank walls beyond.
New recycled timber floors stop short of the tank walls giving the impression of a floating floor plane. Continuous lighting concealed under the floor edge washes up the walls highlighting the textured walls.
The result is a reflective inward focused space disconnected from the outside world, where attention is concentrated on wine, food and fellowship.
Clarity of circulation drives the plan with the commercial kitchen centrally located between the Signature cellar and Dining Tanks. Level and obvious access to the Dining and Tasting tank rooms is provided by an inclined walkway, with toilets accessed at a mid landing.
As the area is ‘ground coupled’, there is little demand on the a/c system which provides predominantly fresh air. Most light fittings are standard energy efficient fluoro battens concealed behind building elements with indirect light reflected off the textured surfaces.
The celebration of existing heritage building fabric coupled with considered contemporary insertions has resulted in an appropriate, cost effective and enduring legacy for Yalumba.