Medhurst Winery Coldstream Yarra Valley Victoria  Architects: Fo
Melbourne architecture practice, Folk, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2013 World Architecture Festival Awards to be announced in Singapore this Friday 4 October.

Folk is shortlisted for its design of a new winemaking facility for Medhurst Wines, a bespoke family-run winery in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

“It is a real honour to be shortlisted for this year’s awards, especially as this Medhurst Wines development was Folk’s first project,” says Tim Wilson, architect and co-founder of Folk.

Medhurst Wines’ brief to Folk was to create a new 250-tonne winemaking facility to complement its existing cellar door. The winery produces a number of varieties and its objective is to produce premium, quality estate-grown wines using small-batch winemaking techniques.

“This development was a real collaboration with winemaker Matt Steel and winery staff.  Given that the new facility is at the centre of Medhurst’s operations we wanted to ensure it not only achieved key functional requirements but also exceeded and complemented them with sustainable design elements,” says Wilson.

Folk’s resulting design is a building embedded into a north-facing slope, and defined by a series of horizontal elements that follow the contours of the site.   Nestled quietly into the existing hill to reduce its visual impact on the landscape, the building accentuates its natural setting by framing views to the surrounding Warramate forest.

Its design merges the practical requirements of the site with innovative sustainable outcomes including a landscaped green roof over the subterranean barrel store to provide both a raised terrace with views of the surrounding landscapes and thermal insulation for the stored wine below, reducing the requirement for mechanical cooling.

Similarly, the heat reflective, polycarbonate cladding to the northern facade of the winemaking area replaces artificial lighting with filtered natural sunlight. At night the wall becomes translucent, exposing the profile of the winemaking equipment within. The winery roof captures approximately 500,000 litres of water annually that is harvested and filtered for use in wine production.

“We’ve been actively interested in the building’s ongoing occupation and have received positive feedback from Matt Steel.  The air-conditioning wasn’t used last summer, and there is an abundance of natural filtered light in the winemaking area that helps to reduce the building’s energy consumption and heat load,” says Christie Petsinis, architect and co-founder of Folk.

“We’ve also heard anecdotes from surprised visitors who have asked ‘when did you build that?’ – as the building’s perceived scale is reduced by integrating it within the landscape.”

The annual World Architecture Festival is the world’s largest festival and live awards ceremony for the global architecture community.  For more information visit: http://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com

Folk Architects was founded in 2011 by Tim Wilson and Christie Petsinis who were inspired to create places that engage with people. Folk’s approach is to activate spaces by integrating art, design, science and technology in a way that is collaborative, innovative and pragmatic yet playful.

Its Medhurst Winery project won the 2012 Australian Institute of Architects (Victoria) Commercial Architecture Award and a commendation in the Commercial Architecture category for the 2012 Australian Institute of Architects (National) award program.

For more information visit: www.folkarchitects.com

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