GO'C designs Alton Wines tasting room to frame winery views

Cedar cladding and a rigorous structural grid feature in this tasting room in southeastern Washington designed by Seattle studio GO'C to frame views of the surrounding winery.

Set on a vineyard near Walla Walla in southeastern Washington, the tasting room and wine garden was designed by GO'C for a plot of land that was deemed "unfarmable".

Winery with vineyards aerial
Alton Wines is in Walla Walla, Washington

GO'C aimed to create a building that was sensitive to the environment and embraced the landscape.

"Deemed 'unfarmable' due to the soil makeup and location in the crook of the vineyards, the owner and farmer of the land had been waiting for the right opportunity to build something special," said GO'C.

Alton Wines Exterior Metal grid
A structural grid creates a focused entry

The architecture studio created a single-storey building that sits quietly in its cove-like setting.

Rectangular in plan – and utilising a rigorous structural grid – the building consists of a tasting room and wine garden that are separated by a covered breezeway.

Cedar ceiling skylights
The cedar clads the ceilings and skylights

Rising up from a flat roof is a chimney stack, which helps anchor the building, and an extruded skylight that allows in in natural light.

Exterior walls were clad in a cedar rainscreen. The northern side is relatively opaque, while the southern facade is lined with large stretches of glass.

Alton Wines interior structural fireplace
The primary lounge area has a large structural fireplace

The whole building is meant to frame particular views of the scenery with numerous shaded outdoor space created to enjoy the region's dry, hot summers.

"The architecture acts as a frame, bringing the landscape closer into focus and a part of one's immediate experience," the team said.

sunshades outside
Retractable shades keep the patios cool

Visitors approach from the north and pass under a long arbor made of steel. Grape vines will eventually wind through the structure, providing visual appeal and shade.

The arbor terminates at the building's breezeway, which was conceived as a terrace.

Alton Wines wine garden
The wine garden has a massive overhead fan and sandy floors

"This dramatic approach captures and accentuates the view of the Blue Mountains seen through the terrace between the two buildings," the team said.

The west side of the building holds the tasting room, where guests are encouraged to linger.

Alton Wines bathroom
The bathroom interiors are simple and refined

The bright and airy space features concrete flooring, a wooden ceiling and contemporary decor. A large, steel-faced fireplace has a plaster surround and a built-in wood store. A square-shaped skylight brings in soft daylight.

Lining the south-facing wall are sliding doors that enable the room to spill onto a patio. Overhead, a canopy is formed of billowing fabric panels that are retractable.

The wine garden is on the facility's east side, where one finds outdoor lounge furniture and bar-height tables.

Concrete walls and counters support two rounded cookers. The winery owners love cooking and often bring in well-known chefs for weekend events.

Alton Wines at night
The south side has floor to ceiling doors and the patio

Overall, the facility's outdoor spaces expand the usable area and enables guests "to tailor the winery experience to their needs", the team said.

GO'C was founded in 2012 by Jon Gentry and Aimée O'Carroll. The firm has completed a number of projects in its home state of Washington, including a Seattle apartment that doubles as a photographer's studio, and a floating wooden sauna that was partly funded by a crowdfunding campaign.

The photography is by Kevin Scott and Veekster.


Project credits:

Architect: GO'C
Project team: Jon Gentry, Aimée O'Carroll, Ashley Skidmore, Yuchen Qiu
Contractor: Mountain States Construction
Structural engineer: J Welch Engineering
Civil engineer: Knutzen Engineering

More images and plans

Alton Wines Floorplans
The floor plan for single-storey Alton Wines
Alton Wines GO'C
Alton Wines GO'C
Alton Wines GO'C
Alton Wines GO'C
Alton Wines GO'C