OVERSTORY: Building the Last Landscape in Baja California

This project for a winery in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe proposes a new parametric method of construction which utilizes networks of inhabitable beams to span between existing boulders on very steep hill sites.

Steep slopes are areas of the last refuge for wild ecosystems in the Valley. Rocks cast local shadows which capture precious moisture in the soil: vegetation and wildlife thrive here in the “last landscape.”
However, they are under threat by current building practices that include excavation with dynamite, chopping of mountain tops to make level ground, and unbalanced cut and fill strategies. Overstory investigates how the architecture and roof canopy of a sustainable winery might conserve moisture for plants and animals, create local microclimates and regions of dappled shade, and construct visual experiences of the hillside that mediate –and perhaps remediate—the native ecologies of the steep landscape.