Inspired by the Texas Hill Country, the Horizon Winery embodies the intersection of the bright, wide sky with solid, cool earth. The cool, ground-inspired production spaces are expressed through rammed earth and concrete; the bright, sky-inspired public spaces are made of light wood members and steel cables. By immersing the visitor in structural expressions of these contrasting conditions, the building celebrates the natural landscape and illustrates how both environments are integral to the cultivation of wine grapes.
In an effort to be purveyors of land stewardship amidst the rapid development of the Austin area, all design choices, both aesthetic and structural, are meant to minimize disruption to the surrounding environment. By selecting rammed earth walls as one of the main vertical structures, the inevitable displacement of soil in construction is mitigated by its reuse as a building material, lowering construction waste and the embodied energy of transportation materials to the site.
The low-lying, buried U-shaped massing promotes passive heat and shade, reducing the air conditioning load typically required by such climate-sensitive programs. Rather than enclosing and conditioning the tasting terrace, it is left open to the sky to allow for natural ventilation. By expressing the climactic range of the landscape through the building’s design, the visitor is given a new appreciation for wine-making, the Texas Hill Country, and, in turn, the importance of land stewardship and conservation in and around Austin, Texas.
2021-2022 Design Excellence Award Winner
Amy Vaughn and Olivia Holder
Architecture Intermediate VI
Instructor: Judith Birdsong