Text description provided by the architects. The Thurston Wine House Addition carefully displays a respect for its context through its materiality and its tectonic language while expressing its unconventional program through its formal elements. Embedded into the topography of the site, the project takes advantage of its section by using the slope to decrease the visual impact of structure, allowing access to the northeast valley and McDowell Mountain views beyond. The Wine House also benefits from the thermal storage capacity of the earth itself, greatly reducing the demand of the mechanical systems throughout the year.
The entertaining capability of the existing house flows seamlessly to the wine house's roof terrace, offering the perfect setting to enjoy a glass of a favorite wine together with one's friends. The descending stair adjacent to the roof terrace, leading one to the wine itself, is an experience reserved for much smaller, more intimate parties. Once beyond the small garden gate, the stair accommodates only one. As you descend, the terracotta bricks ascend skyward, quickly reducing the light reaching the surface of the steps as if light itself were not on the guest list.
A massive wooden door greets you as you arrive at the bottom of the stair, protecting the treasure inside, and yielding only a small candle lit vestibule beyond. Once beyond the vestibule, the terracotta decanter recedes allowing the wine to take center stage. Displaying the eclectic tapestry of colorful wine labels as a veneer covering the vertical surfaces, one can appreciate the personality of every bottle.
The initial impression is a vast wine cellar with an almost endless variety of wine. Upon further examination, the skylight, acting as the table on the roof terrace above, reveals the room's true intimacy. The table beneath the merlot hue provides only room for two. The design provides a variety of very distinct and disparate singular and collective experiences, all of which enrich the program, and ultimately enhance the passion. The Thurston Wine House Addition received a Merit Award at the 2009 Arizona Masonry Guild - Excellence in Masonry.