March 1, 2013

Charles Smith Wines by Olson Kundig Architects

Olson Kundig Architects designed a ’5,000-square-foot conversion of an auto-electric garage dating from the 1920s, in downtown Walla Walla Washington, into a “world headquarters” for Charles Smith Wines.’ Flexibility to reconfigure furniture for multi purposed space use was a driving force in the process. The aesthetic is edgy and seems fitting to reflect the vibe of this happenin’ wine brand. The spirit of the former garage was maintained, and I would suggest leveraged, as open bays were maintained to set up for events, with the ability to accommodate food trucks driving right in to the space for some downright dynamic catering. I’m a big fan of Seattle based Olson Kundig Architects, and have written about them here on the FLOR blog on several occasions before (One Room CabinTom Kundig Collection).  Kundig’s signature expressed hand cranked mechanical systems (below), are the operable component for movement of the large glass doors, opening the space to extend a welcome to the street scene beyond. Being a native of the Pacific Northwest myself, I’ve got Charles Smith Wines on my must see list during my next visit.

“The design team was inspired by Charles’s in-your-face attitude to create a raw space that highlights the original aesthetics of the building while inserting highly flexible pieces, including a large unit dubbed the Armadillo. The resulting space can transform from an office, tasting room and retail store into a dining and entertainment venue. The shell of the building—with original brick walls, wood trusses and a concrete floor—received minor structural updates but was otherwise left raw. The team highlighted the automotive history of the building by replacing garage doors with two custom, hand-cranked pivot doors that completely open the space to the street and form an awning for outdoor seating.”

Content sources  olsonkundigarchitects.com,  Architectural Record Construction

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