Project Name: Fratelli Wines Industrial project
Architect: Sunil Patil and Associates
Client: Fratelli Wines Pvt Ltd
From the early fortresses and abbeys to the great estates of the old world, wineries have long been manifested by great edifices. However not much has changed since then. Wineries continue to be a natural platform of architectural aesthetics, thus quoting Robert Louis Stevenson “Wine is like bottled poetry.” The art of wine making has been around for thousands of years, evolving with time and traditions of the winemaker. It has invariably been a rather fascinating process. Mother Nature has been home to several ingredients involved in the process of wine making. However it comes down to humans to embellish and improve the palate by experimenting with these ingredients.
The reputed wine making Italian company Fratelli Wines Pvt. Ltd. wanted to set up a winery in India which would be the first of its kind and hence Architect Sunil Patil was approached, who has been known for his contemporary vernacular style of design.
Set against the serene backdrop of Akluj, Solapur in the middle of a 44 acre vineyard stands the industrial building of Fratelli Wines. This architectural wonder traces the path of wine making from grape harvest to tasting – from an architect as well as a wine maker’s perspective. The architecture for the winery complements rather than distracts from the natural splendor the place has to offer.
Industrial buildings have always been perceived as a menace to sustainability and hence this project stood as a great challenge for the architect keeping in mind the climate as the basic parameter for the design. The spaces have been intricately designed in a manner such that it creates a visual interaction between the client and the wine making process.
In addition to this the overall plan for the winery was developed depending upon the five stages that go in to the wine making process; harvesting, crushing, fermentation, clarification, and aging and bottling. The unit has it all. The client possessed a huge vineyard spread in the premises. The brief was to have a plant with a tank hall, having a capacity of 9 lakh liters, processing units, bottling plant, cellar for wine storage and an administration block with a wine testing lab. Crushing, fermentation and filtration units have been created in the plant. Adjacent to it, is the administration block. A buffer space has been created between these two buildings. The finished product is later provisioned to be racked into a different vessel, where it is ready for bottling or further aging. These wine containers and chilling jackets being used for the same have been imported from Italy. The cellar designed underground the plant to serve this purpose is to be manually opened as and when required.
From here, the winery has been divided into three main zones: the manufacturing unit being the principal as well as the largest zone, the administration block and lastly the guest house accommodations for overnight visitors who wish to soak in the breathtaking views while relishing a glass of wine. The huge foyer designed leads to the administration block which is situated in close proximity to the manufacturing unit.
In order to balance out the site undulations, the soil extracted from the cellar creates a perfect base for the huge mount scape. The administration block has been made to sit on it. By doing this, the cost and time required for disposing of the mud was avoided. The built mass in return appears to have risen out of the mound owing to this construction strategy.
The ground floor of the administration block comprises of a wine testing zone and the accounts department.
A gorgeously designed spiral staircase takes you all the way up to the first floor thus providing a firm break in the geometric pattern of the design.
A guest lounge has been designed on the upper floor of the admin block. The lounge has been oriented in a way such that the visitor not only gets to experience the sensual beauty of the vineyard as he sips through his wine, enjoying the sunset, but also gets to see the wine making process through the clear glass façade of the manufacturing plant. In this way the wine making process is made to run through the spectator’s mind.
Keeping in mind the climatic parameters of the site, the glazing for the processing plant has been provided solely on its northern façade, keeping it blocked from all the other sides. This design strategy not only makes the structure climatically responsive but also helps maintain a minimum temperature within the building, which is one of the main criteria’s in the wine making process.
The central courtyard formed between the main tank hall and the administrative block remains shaded by the built masses surrounding it hence reducing the heat gain during the day.
The solar passive approach made towards the design helps in attaining thermal comfort. Natural light and ventilation are the other two factors that have helped curtail the project’s budget, thereby making the design cost-effective. The positioning of open spaces plays an integral part in the planning process as they help in modifying the micro climate.
As far as the construction techniques are concerned, complicated structural elements have been avoided. The roofing, accomplished with the help of steel portals with aluminum frames makes the structure dawn with elegance and sophistication. The exterior front is finished in precise amounts of glass and concrete. Simple floor finishes have been adopted such as – exposed tri-mix concrete for the plant room, ceramic tiles for the bottling unit and lastly kota stone for the administration block.
The guest house has been finished using primary colour schemes of red, yellow, blue and green so as to provide the visitor with the most comfortable haven to retreat to. The interiors are simple and minimalist, opening right into a lawn. Wine making is a classic age old process; hence the furniture too was to be selected accordingly so as to give the room a vintage appearance but with a modern edge. The aura created on account of this antique yet contemporary theme helps the visitor harmonize with the well-regarded tradition of wine making in the present-day. Adjoining the lounge are the pantry and dining thus completing the guest house.
This aesthetically stunning yet functional design approach makes the winery site a place where sipping wine would be a breath-taking experience for an architecture enthusiast. To conclude with, Fratelli wines engrave an everlasting reminiscence in the hearts of many.