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NapanookVineyard-Napa Valley,USA-Herzog and de Meuron

NapanookVineyard-Napa Valley,USA-Herzog and de Meuron

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The winery is of conventional economic warehouse construction, a two-stories box 140m long by 25m wide with its long axis running north-south, while the building shape may be conventional, the cladding is not.
The skin cladding of Dominus is both handsome and functional. Galvanised steel gabions, widely used in river and highway engineering as retaining structures, are filled with loose crushed basalt typically used as the sub-base for road construction. Here the caged stone takes on a new role as rain screen and, through modulation of both light and heat, tempers the interior environment of the building.
The gabions were assembled and filled with local on-site rock. They bear on a perimeter grade beam and are restrained by ties to stainless steel rods cast into the concrete wall panels and, in the areas that are framed, by brackets from the steelwork. Using a single module of 900 x 450 x 450mm for the entire building, enormous variety is achieved by very frugal means.
Three grades of stone were used. The largest and least densely packed, which is permeable to light and ventilation is used for the walls of covered outdoor areas and the tank room. Because the fermentation tanks themselves are insulated and fitted with sophisticated temperature controls, the environment of the tank room is not critical. The space is permanently vented at high level by the coarse stone screen combined with a window screen in the back-up wall. By day, filtered sunlight is allowed into the tank room and by night, the façade glows like the embers of a dying fire. A closely packed smaller grade of stone that clads the cask cellar and warehouse is opaque to light and provides a stronger barrier against temperature changes in these sensitive areas.
Like the transformative process of winemaking, Herzog and de Meuron have elevated the most unassuming of raw materials into an architecture which is functional and beautiful, robust and delicate,tract. This building, like the wine it houses, is a refined tactile and highly absblend of science and art. While highly rational, efficient and intelligent, Dominus Winery is also a sensuous fusion of nature and the man-made. (Lecuyer, A. 1998. The Architectural Review, Steel, stone & sky - Herzog & de Meuron's architectural design for a winery in the Napa Valley, California. October.)

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