Tucked, into a hillside in Kelowna, British Columbia, the design of the newest von Mandl Family Estates winery draws a close parallel between the topography of the land and the gravity-flow winemaking process taking place inside. Conceived, of as a simple rectangular form with a central split or “fracture” down the middle, the production side of the building follows the direction of the site, utilizing the downhill slope for its gravity-flow process.
The other half containing the visitor area cantilevers out over the vineyards, offering sweeping views of nearby Okanagan Lake and the iconic bell tower of Mission Hill Winery, von Mandl’s first winery in the region, also designed by architect Tom Kundig.
The design’s central “fracture” allows for an expansive line of clerestory windows, increasing natural daylight intake into the production areas, as well as opening impressive views of the surrounding vineyards and natural landscape. The building’s exterior is cladded with obsidian-painted structural steel, while rusted corrugated steel is used for siding and roof overhangs. Siding panels are tilted downhill to visually underscore the story of the gravity-flow process. The facility has a private tasting room accented by a glass and perforated-steel wall that overlooks the barrel storage area.
A custom-designed and fabricated spiral steel staircase leads up to a larger tasting room and visitor experience area with perforated steel on the outside and solid steel inside. The form of the staircase was inspired by the stainless-steel filtering equipment used in the wine industry, as well as by the Fibonacci sequence that reflects how grapevines propagate.