Moya Meaker Winery

ONYX Architects

As one approaches the winery from a meandering path through a fynbos garden, the glass symmetrical façade of the cellar is framed by two beautiful mature oak trees. Just one of the sensitive ways that siting of the building is shaped around the constraints and opportunities of the site.
Through simple forms and careful detailing, the architect celebrates the wine-making process as intrinsic to the built form. The building is both intensely pragmatic and robust, yet elevates the function through its celebration of form, to create an almost cathedral-like quality. This is mainly achieved through the detailing of the timber scissor trusses which allows natural top light to illuminate the double-volume structure of the fermentation cellar. This distinguishes itself from the traditionally dark and cave-like typology of a wine cellar.
The backdrop of the oak trees on the glass façade becomes an intrinsic element of the internal spatial experience of the cellar. Elevated large wine storage drums create a balanced symmetry along this axis, becoming inherent to the architecture. The lightness of the fermentation cellar leads into Malolatic room, which is in contrast a dark space, but where visual connections with the orchards occur in unexpected moments. These visual connections serve as a constant reminder of the wine-making process from fruit to final product.
Moving through the building allows the visitor a unique view into the inner workings of this process, which ends the journey in the wine tasting room. Some on the panel had some reservations around a lack of clarity around material choice, but the overall experience far outweighed these reservations.
This project is the joyful product of an architect who has taken pleasure in understanding the complex practical requirements of the brief, yet elevating the function through form making and detailing, making the building well worthy of a commendation.