ALTON WINES
Focusing on the surrounding views, the architecture acts as a frame bringing the landscape closer into focus and a part of one’s immediate experience.
LOCATION
Walla Walla, WA
PROJECT TEAM
Gentry / O’Carroll
Ashley Skidmore
Yuchen Qiu
CONTRACTOR
Mountain States Construction
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING
J Welch Engineering
CIVIL ENGINEERING
Knutzen Engineering
PHOTOGRAPHY
Kevin Scott
Inhabiting a wave-like landform just outside Walla Walla, Alton Wines nestles itself into an existing cove that is formed by the surrounding vineyards. The site is an undeveloped parcel deemed ‘unfarmable’ due to the soil makeup and location in the crook of the vineyards. The client partnered with the farmer and owner of the land and both had been waiting for the right opportunity to build something special. A design that is sensitive to the natural landscape and responsive to the farmland was welcomed.

Upon arrival visitors to the winery are guided due south, on axis with the arbor, leading to the Tasting Room and Wine Garden which orient east/west across the site. This dramatic approach captures and accentuates the view of the Blue Mountains seen through the terrace between the two main wings of the building. The site offers stunning views to the south which are maximized as the building opens up to the fields beyond. An open, airy, and inviting Tasting Room where guests would want to linger was a high priority, with lots of flexibility for programming and events. Opening up to both the covered outdoor Wine Garden and a large raised terrace to the south increases the usable space and gives guests options to tailor the winery experience to their needs.
A rigorous structural grid and framed openings are used throughout the building to organise interior and exterior spaces and allow for an efficient, cost effective construction process. Starting at the approach to the winery, steel bays form an arbor which will be planted with grape vines, creating much needed shade on summer days. This arbor structure passes through the building and forms the frame for the shade awning on the south terrace outside the Tasting Room.
The structure is capped by a sheltering roof which is pierced by three elements; an anchoring chimney stack, an extruded skylight, and a carved roof opening at the entry. These elements help to anchor the west end of the space, funnel natural light deep into the plan of the building, and frame sky views throughout the seasons.
LOCATION
Walla Walla, WA
PROJECT TEAM
Gentry / O’Carroll
Ashley Skidmore
Yuchen Qiu
CONTRACTOR
Mountain States Construction
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING
J Welch Engineering
CIVIL ENGINEERING
Knutzen Engineering
PHOTOGRAPHY
Kevin Scott
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