- Design Team : Bill Curran, Kyle Slote, Stevan Gacesa
- Clients : Diamond Estates Wine & Spirits Ltd.
- City : Niagara-on-the-Lake
- Country : Canada
Text description provided by the architects. Located in the heart of Niagara wine country this project creates a high quality permanent building for the Lakeview Wine Co. (formerly Diamond Estates) retail and tasting operations. The building is placed amongst the vines to create an authentic vineyard experience for visitors. The building form is simple but powerful for impact, memorability and cost effectiveness and is derived from the design of local agricultural buildings and sheds.
Conceptually, the design creates its own unique sense of place that is separate from the existing production facility on the site. The building form is a simple wedge shape with a distinctive exterior of Japanese ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ charred cedar with natural cedar accents.
A covered entrance porch with built-in wood benches and custom oversized wood pivoting doors offers weather protection and enriches the arrival sequence. The interior space is low at the entry but rises dramatically towards the rear with skylights and high windows to bring in generous daylight. The singular large retail and tasting space provides maximum impact with an exposed wood ceiling and steel columns and beams for warmth and texture. For flexibility, it can be separated by large sliding glass partitions. A low side wing includes washrooms, a staff area and service space.
At 28 and 22 feet long, two marble cash/tasting bars and rear display counters allow for numerous staff stations and places for people to taste and linger. Full height continuous glass behind the tasting bars provides uninterrupted views to the vineyard and escarpment beyond.
Large group tasting is accommodated at the west end of the space to enhance the entrance experience, improve appearance and noise control and minimize bottlenecks. A small central lounge area has varied seating including stand up tables, a counter with stools overlooking the vineyard, and lounge seating. It is anchored by a focal floating fireplace, offering warmth and a visual amenity in cooler months.
A glass lounge cube at the end of the tasting room is furnished with Muskoka chairs and is a focal point of the building, drawing the eye and the visitor though the building. The cube offers panoramic views into the vineyard and is intended as a private tasting room. Ample retail display shelving has been provided. It has been located high along the road-facing outside wall to keep as much stock as possible on the shelves as a display feature. The display shelving is varied to add visual interest with movable display islands in the centre of the space.
The architect’s discerning use of colour, attention to detail in design and dedication to craft result in a building that is decidedly modern, but still warm and inviting. Elements receiving particular consideration include custom millwork and cabinets, a varied palette of warm rich colours, unique light fixtures built by artists in Toronto, Vancouver, and Philadelphia, handmade cast glass tile from California and limestone from France.