Due to proximity to the Napa River, the new Titus Vineyards Winery was raised to sit atop a 5- to 8-foot-tall earthen berm to mitigate flood risk. Effort was then made to reduce the vertical height and profile of the building. Most of the perimeter walls were constructed with tilt-up board-formed concrete. The formwork and rebar were laid out on boards to create a striated texture. After curing, each of the walls was “tilted up” into place by crane, and special care was taken to coordinate imbedded metal anchors to receive the ends of the metal trusses in order to structurally interlock the roof and walls together.
The horizontal lines that define the board-formed concrete walls repeat in the Hospitality Room suspended ceiling, comprised of varied width and depth wooden slats. Glass blade LED light fixtures set between the slats maintain the linear theme. Offsetting the hard concrete floors and walls, the slatted ceiling baffles sound gently and mitigates acoustical resonance allowing intelligible conversation when multiple groups of guests are present. MH Architects also designed linear pendant fixtures over the Tasting Counter and in the individual Tasting Rooms. Suspended by pairs of minimal aircraft cables, the fixtures are comprised of rectilinear wooden blocks of alder to match the ceiling with an LED light slot on the bottom.
The distinction between the winery interior and the natural setting was intentionally blurred. Sliding glass Nana bi-fold doors span a 24-foot-wide opening between the Tasting Room and the exterior covered porch overlooking the vineyards to the west. The concrete floor and wood slat ceiling finishes continue uninterrupted between the interior and exterior. The Tasting Room space expands toward the covered porch and the crisp lines in the ceiling mirror the cultivated vineyard rows beyond.
MH Architects in honored to contract with Bodega San Rafael Winery on this exciting project located in the wine growing region of Guadalupe Valley near Ensenada, Mexico. The scope of work for this new building includes a new concrete and steel winery is terraced into the hillside to match the contour of the dramatic topography of the high desert outside Ojos Negros. A trellis of solar panels shades a covered Crush Pad on the top level. Below, Fermentation and Barrel Storage levels are stacked like a traditional gravity-assisted facility. Visiting guests enjoy tasting events atop a tension-cable structure with 360º views of the valley and mountains in the distance.
As the Donum name means “Gift of the Land,” the 150 acre site serves as the generator of the program and building forms. Located in Sonoma County’s Carneros wine-growing region, Donum Estate’s primary design objective was to create an elegant set of dispersed winery buildings which frame an open-air sculpture garden featuring artists such as Ai Weiwei, Keith Haring and Fernando Botero.
Donum Estate produces only single-vineyard, estate wines from vineyards in Carneros, Russian River Valley and Anderson Valley. The bayside site is surrounded by rolling hills with views of the coastal range in the distance. The winemaking program takes advantage of the site’s high exposure to humid marine air by focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals.
The new Production and Hospitality Buildings pay homage to a dairy previously located on the site by observing a pattern of relatively small, white structures with gable roofs. While both buildings nestle themselves amongst the world-class art in the landscape, the Hospitality Building carries the art theme within the gallery-like interior. A series of enormous skylites define the north side of the vaulted ceiling of the Great Room and generous floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors capitalize on the surrounding views. The exterior is characterized by board-and-batten siding that vary in width and spacing, lending an appearance of undulating topography upon otherwise flat walls.
Like the Hospitality Building, the Production Building was locating on the footprint of a previous building to minimize impact on the site. The hillside footprint encouraged a traditional gravity-assisted program for winemaking with the Fermentation Room and Crush Pad housed above and the Barrel Storage Rooms contained within an elongated underground concrete box below. As the Fermentation Room is not conditioned, the skin of the building is delineated by staggered courses of horizontal metal panels with different patterns of perforations. The ethereal nature of the building perimeter generates playful light patterns within the building and evokes a dematerialized surface on the exterior.
While both the Production Building and Hospitality Building have been designed to augment any visitor’s experience at the Donum Estate, the structures also strive to focus attention outward to the immediate landscape and surrounding horizon. As wine ultimately comes from the grapes grown on the land, the vineyards are celebrated through framed vignettes and backdrops to world-class art.
A three-story residence with 5 bedrooms sits prominently on a vegetated hillside. Large windows, sliding glass doors, and stepped roof decks maximize the surrounding views. Entry, dining, and living areas are scaled to accommodate entertaining and hospitality events as required. A muted color pallet on board and batten siding balance contemporary style with rural vernacular.
MH Architects is a multi-faceted architecture firm based in San Francisco. Principal Matt Hollis has been in practice since 2006 and has a range of technical experience in residential, winery, hotel, office, and institutional programs. In addition to a large number of projects in California, the firm has designed buildings in Japan, China, Costa Rica, and Hawaii. In both residential and commercial projects, MH Architects works closely with clients to help create the optimal building for their specific program requirements and aesthetic goals.