Wanderlust and Intoxication | Core 3 Studio

Core 3 Studio: BAJA WINERY: Architecture in the time of drought
Sheila Kennedy, Rami el Samahy, and Mariana Ibanez
Fall 2017


a winery of diverse atmospheres

The material scarcity of Valle de Guadalupe is obscured by the region’s abundant and growing winemaking businesses. Its reputation as the leading wine producer in Mexico and recognition in the international market have brought a surge in the wine tourism in the region. Yet the culture of tourism is shifting—it is moving from a desire for conspicuous consumption to a desire for experience - and the rise of a local wine harvest festival (Fiestas de la Vendimia) is a testament to this movement.

However, wineries in the region tend to be self-similar. There is a scarcity of spatial experience not only in the lack of accommodation spaces but also in the homogeneity of the boutique culinary and wine-drinking typologies. This project proposes a social condenser that celebrates experiential abundance rather than material abundance to help the region transition from its current extractive economy to a (more sustainable) economy of experience.

The primary goal of this project is to create a diversity of architectural experiences and atmospheres using a minimal amount of materials. Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete is sprayed onto a flexible fabric. Unlike conventional rigid formwork the form of the fabric can be parametrically varied while maintaining a simple and materially efficient construction.  Three framework typologies (point based, line based, and frame based), combined with the fabric conditions (tight, loose) create undulating thin-shell structures illustrated on the board. Depending on anchor points of the fabric formwork, these thin-shells may be continuous walls, or creates slit-like openings for circulation. The foundation rings closely follows the undulation of the shell structure above and keeps the recesses thermally conditioned with radiative cooling and heating using a simple solar powered heat pump. This makes possible thermal, haptic experiences, encouraging people to touch and rest on warm or cool surfaces.  

Daylighting can be controlled by the orientation of the top aperture and the treatment of the thin shell concrete itself. Using the tops of recycled wine bottles as light guides, different gradations of translucent concrete can be achieved. Depending on the time of day and the season, the shell may take on various atmospheric characters and interact with the light in both austere and exuberant manner.

The project seeks to produce wine yes—but also an abundance of spatial conditions through which visitors of this winery can wander. Entering through the slit in the façade curtain wall, the visitors are dazzled by the play of light. The spaces are stumbled upon, rather than directed to. The visitors may venture into the light filled restaurant or venture into the darker fermentation rooms, and then slip out into the outdoor courtyard guided by a breeze, and back into a cone shaped banquet hall. The visitors are also encouraged to rest in the recesses, temporarily, or perhaps over the night. In short, the visitors are intoxicated by wine, conviviality and space.