Architecture plays a critical role when it comes to a wineries brand. Ever since Los Clos Jordan hired Starchitect Frank Gehry to design their proposed winery – possibly in reply to KPMB‘s completion of Jackson Triggs in 2001 – the local industry took notice, each trying to out-do the last with a panoply of styles in a grape-fuelled arms race.
Buildings, like wine, are products that we consume through personal connections, feelings, and tastes. They can also help sell what’s on your shelves. The magic of spatial qualities and aesthetic can do a lot to the psyche and palette.
Since the Gehry stunt much has changed in the Niagara region. Fielding hired the super cool Toronto firm of superkül Architects,Wayne Gretzky’s new complex by Oakville’s Gren Weis is a new mega branded structure, Stratus went with local architect Les Andrews. The list goes on and on.
Now there is a new kid on the block: The Lakeview Winery Company (formerly Diamond Estates) Retail and Tasting Pavilion by Hamilton firm TCA Architects Inc.
An elongated, rectilinear wedge rising up from the ground, clad in a skin of Shou Sugi Ban charred cedar, the building leaves an intriguing impression. It takes its cues from local vernacular, connects to the landscape through its orientation, scale, and earthy tones, and adds an exotic touch of Japanese.
It’s a modest pavilion designed and executed on a relatively modest budget, but like Lakeview’s wines, the building has a lot of flavour. The interior is classic TCA, a style recognizable by their use of wood, the angular steel, the lighting choices, and the small but important touches, which help shape the users experience.
The entrance itself is an experience. With varying slats of charred and natural cedar, custom built-in benches, and custom vine lighting designed by TCA and created by CP Lighting, the visitor crosses what looks like a small loading bridge and into a vestibule before the big reveal.
Entering the space through pivoting doors, the interior is bordered by wood product shelving in varying sizes and marble topped tasting/cash and display counters, the room gradually rises in height and ends at the focal point of the pavilion: a private tasting room.
This private room is equipped with seating, marble drink ledges, and a ribbon light designed by Spanish company LZF. Complete with a panoramic view of the vineyard, the space blends, like a Bordeaux, between indoor and outdoor, undoubtedly enhancing the taste of wine being sampled.
Looking up, skylights puncture rays of light through the ceiling while plywood cut into strips of different dimensions add texture. A floating fireplace, as well as steel columns and beams bring warmth and dimension to the space. Besides the skylights, a pinwheel-like concentration of punched windows and floor to ceiling glazing face the street, while the southeast side has a continuous band of glazing connecting the visitors to their immediate surroundings.
Walking around the pavilion offers different perspectives at each glance. The rhythmic myriad of mullions that make up the long band of glazing creates a melody for the eyes and the small flirty overhang, with its natural cedar soffit, is as though the building lifted its skin up to show its bare underside.
Towards the road the façade is dotted by fenestration. A cube of both natural and Japanese cedar containing the washrooms, employee lounge, and service area extends beyond the wedge. From certain vantage points to the northeast, amidst the rows of grapes, the building looks modular.
Its rising wedge could be seen as a simple metaphor for Lakeview, as the new pavilion has undoubtedly brought an uptick in sales, profit, and exposure. The Niagara region just received another winner with Lakeview’s new pavilion, but it isn’t the only building TCA has in store for Lakeview Winery. The Hamilton firm has a complete complex expansion planned with new production and bottling areas, a high density warehouse, a barrel vault with additional tasting room, and a hospitality pavilion.
To book a tour visit: https://www.lakeviewwineco.com/site/niagara-winery-wine-tours-tastings