Medhurst Winery – Gruyere, Yarra Valley
- Folk Architects
- Medhurst Wines
- Peter Bennetts - Photography Credits
Located in Victoria\’s premier wine-making region, the Yarra Valley, Medhurst Winery is a new 250 tonne winery designed primarily for boutique, small-batch wine production.
The building is embedded into the landscape, and defined by a series of horizontal elements that follow the site’s contours. Nestled quietly into an existing hill to reduce its visual impact on the landscape, the building accentuates its natural setting by framing views to the surrounding Warramate forest.
Programmatic requirements, orientation, and restrained materials palette were thoroughly evaluated and considered in order to reduce the building\’s energy use, ongoing maintenance and to provide a sustainable outcome.
The Winery is situated on a north facing slope, overlooked by an existing cellar door. Whilst Medhurst Winery was Folk’s first project, our initial response to the brief was a reluctance to build on the proposed site given the significant spatial requirements relative to the site area, surrounding buildings and Warramate Forest that spills through the property.
From the project\’s inception, our approach was to work in close collaboration with the client, wine maker and nominated contractor to enable integrated design solutions that were responsive to the landscape, user and ongoing environmental and operational considerations.
Design innovation is embedded into the sculptural building envelope.
The landscaped green roof over the subterranean barrel store provides both a raised terrace with views to the surrounding landscape, as well as thermal insulation for the stored wine below, thereby reducing the requirement for mechanical cooling.
Similarly, heat reflective polycarbonate cladding on the northern facade of the wine-making area replaces artificial lighting with filtered natural sunlight. At night the wall becomes translucent, exposing the profile of the winemaking equipment within.
The no water mains connection and the roof efficiently captures approximately 500,000 litres of water annually that is then harvested and filtered for use in production.
Our design approach was to integrate and camouflage the building into the Warramate Hill as a means to reduce its visual impact on the surrounding landscape. The building was conceived as an installation rather than a solid built form that it complimentary to both the neighbouring buildings that overlook the site and landscape.
From the Cellar Door, a meandering path leads patrons from wine tasting, to an elevated green roof platform (situated above the subterranean barrel hall) with visual links to both the surrounding vines and production area within the building.
Our intentions to enable public engagement in this process was added to the design brief – Visual permeability to fermenters, tanks and equipment is complimentary to Medhurst’s cellar door, and adds to the experience of visiting the Yarra Valley wine region, particularly during the harvest period.
Extensive consideration was given to the spatial relationships between the building’s functional areas, site context and accessibility for user groups. Public areas to the south-east provide a physical and visual link with the Cellar Door, with restricted access to the commercial work area that is concealed to the north-west.
Medhurst\’s high level of innovation, sustainability and design excellence has been recognised by the Australian Institute of Architects where the project has received both a Victorian and National award for Commercial Architecture. It is now shortlisted in the World Architecture Awards.
We were pleased to receive ongoing feedback from both operational aspects (the air-conditioning wasn\’t used last summer as the temperature and environment remain stable) . In addition, a regular visitors recent remark, \’When did you build that?\’ They initially had not noticed the new building embedded into the hill upon their arrival to the cellar door.