23-03-2020

The beauty of nature, House of Flowers

Walker Warner Architects, Maca Huneeus Design, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects,

Douglas Friedman,

Healdsburg, California, USA,

Visitor Center, Cellars,

Wood,

Refurbishment,

The House of Flowers in Healdsburg, California is a project led by Walker Warner Architects with Maca Huneeus Design for the interiors and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects for the landscape architecture. It is the culmination of the sustainable restoration of an old winery built in the 1970s.



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The beauty of nature, House of Flowers When you’re cooped up at home to stop the virus from spreading, following the #Istayhome rule, there’s nothing to stop your mind from travelling and dreaming of new places to visit. One of these is the House of Flowers, Flowers Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg, California, in the Russian River Valley. Located in the wine-rich zone of Sonoma County, Flowers Vineyard & Winery was looking for a new, more accessible venue to showcase their wines in a location that focuses on the celebration of wine, food and nature.
It all came together for the owners when - in line with their sustainable approach to winemaking - they came across a promising site from the 1970s. The facilities in this 6.2-hectare property were outdated and rundown but they held promise due to their rustic charm and authentic ties to nature.
The challenge for the designers from Walker Warner Architects - who brought in Maca Huneeus Design to work with them on the interiors, and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects for the landscape architecture - was how to work with the existing collection of facilities and preserve the site’s natural legacy while ensuring that the venue could meet the expectations of today. Brooks Walker, principal at Walker Warner Architects pointed out that their approach was deceptively simple: let nature dominate and use architecture to frame the experience of the place. 
Although they were set within a redwood grove, the existing buildings were mostly disconnected from the landscape around them. The strategy was to find ways to reconnect the buildings and visitors to the natural environment and reimagine the existing industrial-style volumes. So, the architects developed new pathways leading into the visitor centre, set up in what used to be a warehouse. The dark colour of this hospitality house and the other buildings is informed by the deep shadows of the redwood grove and helps them blend into the site and let nature shine.
Reusing the existing structures aligns with the winemaker’s commitment to sustainability and is integrated by passive energy strategies including daylight, through a skylight and large windows that are protected by wooden slats, while the redwood grove helps to mitigate the heat.
For the interiors, Maca Huneeus Design made the spaces more inviting to use, with the idea of putting people at their ease as if they were visiting a friend’s house in the country, going with simplicity, both in their choice of materials and in the Scandinavian vibe for the decor. For the landscaping of House of Flowers, Nelson Byrd Woltz used the native plantings of the Californian landscape, creating a sense of place deeply rooted in the Russian River Valley and a narrative that is consistent with the winery’s ecological approach, for a perfect union between context and intent. The whole project shows the huge potential that remodelling offers, where the desire for sustainability gets the creative juices of the designers flowing freely.

Christiane Bürklein

Architecture: Walker Warner Architects (Mike McCabe, Principal, LEED AP, Brooks Walker, Principal, LEED AP, Sharon Okada, Senior Project Manager, LEED AP. Architectural Staff: Matthew Marsten, Hana Bittner, Darcy Arioli) 
Interior: Maca Huneeus Design (interiors)
Landscape Architecture: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects 
Consulting local landscape architecture: Alexis Woods Landscape Design
Lighting design: Anna Kondolf
Structural Engineering: Daedalus Structural Engineering 
Location: Healdsburg, California, USA
Year: 2019
Photography: Douglas Friedman

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