You might be hard-pressed to find a relationship between architecture, wine tasting and Mr. Squiggle, but here’s how that connection goes: Ashley and Kathy Keeffe of Green Door Wines commissioned Paul O’Reilly, Principal Architect of Archterra, to design the cellar door of their boutique vineyard and winery set on the rolling hills of Ferguson Valley in WA. The client’s brief? “It was a bit like a Mr. Squiggle drawing challenge,” Paul says. “Take a quite bizarre existing two-storey concrete structure with an attached non-descript farm shed, create a cellar door, and incorporate a couple of green Moroccan doors that the client purchased previously.”
While the brief incorporated a lot of seemingly disparate elements, the resulting cellar door has all the balance one would expect in a good bottle of wine. “The concept was a robust building that reflects the industrial process of wine making as well as the most sensual aspects of wine,” Paul explains.
Paul, who lives in Margaret River, is also a cattle farmer and his approach to design reflects his deep interest in the land, its people, and primary production of the region: “simplicity, environmental appropriateness, respect and appreciation of nature, and rigorous spatial planning.”
This is clearly evident in the Green Door Wines cellar door in which a new structure, clad in Zincalume® corrugated iron to reflect the rural surroundings, has been grafted onto the side of an existing concrete building. It sits lightly on the land, and hanging over the edge of a steeply sloping vineyard it takes in 180-degree views to the west.
While the view is spectacular – “on a clear day you can see the Indian Ocean” – it’s inside that the magic really happens. “The building is deceptive from the outside, which gives it a real wow factor when people walk through the door,” Kathy says.
The internal backdrop of the tasting room is the external concrete wall of the existing building; and what was a cantilevered floor supporting a glass-block shower is now a rough concrete awning that helps define the bar. Opposite the tasting bar, two Moroccan doors, purchased by the Keeffes overseas, open to the terrace and view outside. Morocco has a vibrant decorative arts tradition that, like wine, draws on centuries-old techniques, and the doors are detailed, ornate and with lace-like patterning “that is a great foil for the very commercial clear anodised aluminium door frames that surround them,” Paul says.
Under the high pine ceiling, the long tasting bar itself is also a stand-out feature with Jarrah timber recovered from the old Broome jetty, and raw black steel on the facing that, Paul says, “is complete with the installer’s fingerprint and hand marks.”
Indeed, it’s the simplicity, subtlety and personal touch that makes Green Door Wines’ cellar door so inviting and eclectic. “The space is perfect for what we are trying to achieve,” says Kathy. “A personal and interesting cellar door for people to enjoy good wine and company.”
Photography by Douglas Mark Black.