Text description provided by the architects. The owners of a private vineyard sought to renovate an existing pre-engineered metal barn into a music room, mezzanine, exercise room, and restrooms. The building is located within the hills above the Sonoma Valley where temperatures during the summer can become excessive, demanding a clear passive cooling strategy to create comfortable habitable spaces.
Michael Hennessey Architecture implemented a living screen that covers part of the south elevation, west elevation, and roof to create a growing blanket of shade. Orientation to the sun dictated the window interventions. Only a singular horizontal window was located on the south elevation to take advantage of the high sun angle, while on the north elevation a wall of glass opens the music room to the landscape and distant views.
Two operable skylights are incorporated to take advantage of a natural “chimney effect” to evacuate warm air from the building. These strategic arrangements of windows and skylights create dramatic natural lighting conditions at the interior of the building, where simple white walls and a white corrugated ceiling direct the light deep into the building.
These white background elements reinforce the purposeful composition of wenge veneer and exposed black framing at discrete locations. In regards to the exterior composition, the green vines of the living screen work to ease the taut articulation of the building massing and fenestration elements. A simple utility building is brought to life for a new use.