Wine tasting lounge and wine garden Alton Wines: a design that is sensitive to the natural landscape in Washington's countryside
Focusing on the surrounding vistas, GO'C Studio's architecture for the new winery at Alton Wines, just outside Walla Walla, acts as a frame that brings the landscape closer, more in focus, making it a key part of the visitor experience
One arrives at Alton Wines by a long drive from the county road that traces the vineyards carved into the natural terrain. The place on which it stands is a pristine area among farmland. The owner of the land, also a farmer, had been waiting for the right opportunity to build something special. A design sensitive to the natural landscape was welcomed.
Upon arrival, visitors to the winery are guided south, on an axis with the pergola leading to the new tasting room and Wine Garden oriented on an east/west axis through the site. This dramatic approach captures and accentuates the view of the Blue Mountains, which can be seen from the terrace between the two buildings
The connection to the landscape, outdoor space, and shade were important factors in GO’C Studio's design for the winery, being in an area known for its hot summers and cold winters. Responding to the client's desire for a separate Wine Garden and tasting room, open and covered space is captured between the two buildings. This area serves both as an entry point to the winery, but also as an additional outdoor room, allowing both the tasting room and Wine Garden to have an outdoor space for events
An open and airy tasting room where guests would want to linger was a top priority of the project, featuring great flexibility for event planning. Opening up the covered outdoor space and also thanks to a large terrace to the south increases the usable space and gives guests several options to tailor the winery experience to their needs
A strict structural grid is used throughout the building. Beginning at the entrance to the winery, steel bays form a pergola that will be planted with vines, creating much-needed shade on summer days. This tree structure passes through the building and forms the canopy for the south terrace, off the tasting room. Sliding doors and windows fill this structural grid and enclose the tasting room. The structure is covered by a protective roof, perforated by three elements: an anchor chimney, an extruded skylight, and a carved opening for access. These elements help anchor the western end of the space and channel natural light deep into the building plan as well as frame views of the sky during all seasons