Tucked into a hillside in Kelowna, British Columbia, the design of the newest von Mandl Family Estates winery draws a close parallel between the topography of the land and the gravity-flow winemaking process taking place inside. Conceived of as a simple rectangular form with a central split or “fracture” down the middle, the production side of the building follows the direction of the site, utilizing the downhill slope for its gravity-flow process. The other half containing the visitor area cantilevers out over the vineyards, offering sweeping views of nearby Okanagan Lake and the iconic belltower of Mission Hill Winery, von Mandl’s first winery in the region, also designed by architect Tom Kundig. The functional areas of Martin’s Lane step down the hillside, from the grape-receiving area at the top, through fermentation and the settling room, down to the bottling room on the above ground level, and finally the below-ground barrel storage area. Throughout its 34,800 square feet, the winery’s office, wine lab and visitor spaces are woven into the manufacturing areas, including a tasting room, dining room, and visitor walkways that offer intimate glimpses of the production process. The design’s central “fracture” allows for an expansive line of clerestory windows here, increasing natural daylight intake into the production areas, as well as opening impressive views of the surrounding vineyards and natural landscape. The building’s exterior is cladded with obsidian-painted structural steel, while rusted corrugated steel is used for siding and roof overhangs. Siding panels are tilted downhill to visually underscore the story of the gravity-flow process.
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