PROJECT INTENTIONS: The design of this Kelowna, British Columbia, winery is a direct response to the Pinot Noir grape cultivated here. Known among winemakers as The Heartbreak Grape because it is so delicate, Pinot Noir grapes do not respond well to typical mechanical wine production methods. Over handling the must, or wine juice, can quickly diminish the quality of Pinot noir wine. As such, the client's winemaking philosophy designated that Martin's Lane Winery be based on a gravity-flow process in order to minimize manipulation of the Pinot noir must. Here, gravity, rather than mechanical systems, is the primary force moving wine through the production facility.
DESIGN RESOLUTION: The production facility answers this need for a gravity-flow process with a tiered design that steps down its steeply sloped, lakeside site. Utilizing the downhill grade, the functional areas of the building begin with the grape-receiving area at the top, through fermentation and the settling room, down to the bottling room, and finally to the below-ground barrel storage area. In this way, Martin's Lane responds to its site with a contextually appropriate design that not only reflects the natural topography, but also the gravity-flow process taking place inside.
While the production area closely follows the contours of the land, the hospitality portion is distinguished by a dramatic split in the building. Cantilevering out over the vineyard below, the design of this visitor area expresses a second response to the hilly setting - one based on prospect and views of nearby Lake Okanagan. Clerestory and operable windows in the seam of the building maximize daylight and natural ventilation by capturing lake breezes as they rise up the hill.
The design of Martin's Lane Winery celebrates and enhances the award-winning Pinot noir wine produced here by articulating the unique gravity-flow process taking place within.
Project Team: Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal; Steve Grim, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C, Project Manager