Sonoma Vineyard Estate / Aidlin Darling Design

Sonoma Vineyard Estate / Aidlin Darling Design

© Ben Tanner © John Sutton © Matthew Millman © John Sutton + 11

Sonoma County, United States
  • Architects: Aidlin Darling Design ; Landscape architects: MFLA - Marta Fry Landscape Associates
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 18000.0 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2005
  • Photographs photographs: John Sutton, Ben Tanner, Matthew Millman
  • General Contractor:: Cello and Maudru Construction, Bill Maudru
  • Lighting Consultant: Architecture and Light, Darrell Hawthorne
  • Structural Engineer: Ingraham DeJesse Associates, Nellie Ingraham, Stephen DeJesse
  • Civil Engineer: Adobe Associates, David Brown, Merrill VanFleet
  • Geotechnical Engineer: Giblin Associates, Jere Giblin
  • Mechanical Engineer: Horn Engineers, Jim Horn
  • Electrical Engineer: Hansen and Slaughter, Ray Slaughter
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© John Sutton
© John Sutton

© John Sutton
© John Sutton

Situated at the base of Sonoma Mountain, this 140-acre estate includes a main residence, a guesthouse, a barn, sculpture gardens, and an orchard in addition to the 60-acre vineyard. All building and landscape elements are strategically sited to enable harmonic coexistence of day-to-day operation of the vineyard and bucolic domestic life. The design of the buildings themselves is intended to quietly reciprocate the complexities of site and program, enhance the relationship of indoor and outdoor space, and capture a serene spirit of place. Each building is discretely woven into the surrounding landscape while providing access to the site’s panoramic view.

© Matthew Millman
© Matthew Millman

The main house is tucked beyond the south horizon of the vineyard at the toe of the mountain, with a modest narrow profile to the north and expansive views to the east. The guesthouse is located on an existing plateau at the seam between mountain and vineyard, with on one side a primary earthen wall sheltering warm interiors, and on the other cool intimate gardens against the forest. The barn is a multivalent threshold, marking the intersection of public and private, delineating arrival to the property, and reciprocating the temporal rhythms of its site.

© John Sutton
© John Sutton

The owners sought a seamless blending of their art collection, furnishings, building, and landscape. To this end, the main residence was designed as a series of connected spaces around a loggia and reflecting pool. The linear pool runs due north–south, acting as a primary orientation device among the rolling vine-clad hills. The sequentially measured interior spaces, each with balanced light and tall walls for artwork, unfold cinematically while providing a continual reorientation and connection to the landscape beyond. The guesthouse is organized by an 18-inch-thick rammed-earth wall woven among the existing trees, which anchors the building structurally, ecologically, and experientially. Floor-to-ceiling glass captures sweeping valley views while opening the interior out to the surrounding terraces, embracing the indoor-outdoor lifestyle afforded by Sonoma’s temperate climate.

© Ben Tanner
© Ben Tanner

The resulting design embodies a sense of permanence and solidity, combining a modern sensibility with a warm materials palette. Materials were chosen to invoke tactile, olfactory, and auditory senses and to reinforce a mental mapping of place. The building’s rich materials palette is balanced by a simplicity of form and detail. Formal restraint defers to the surrounding landscape, to the inherent beauty of the materials used, and to the owner’s collections.

Careful consideration of the buildings’ profiles, their relationship to topography and landscape, and a meticulously choreographed arrival sequence achieve both modesty and extensive energy efficiency. The orientation of each building generates passive solar heat gain on cool mornings and provides shade on hot afternoons. The layering of spaces allows natural light to penetrate the buildings throughout the day. The reflecting pool provides passive cooling through hot summer months, while the use of a geothermal heating and cooling system further augments the estate’s energy efficiency.

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Project location

Address: Sonoma Mountain, California 94954, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Sonoma Vineyard Estate / Aidlin Darling Design" 27 Jan 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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