Cargotecture meets wine country in Paso Robles

July 27, 2020 by  
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Sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while gazing out over rows and rows of grapes is a thrill for any wine aficionado. But the Geneseo Inn at Cass Winery in Paso Robles, California offers something even more exciting — now wine-lovers can wake up to those vineyard views inside a repurposed shipping container . Cargotecture has come to wine country at last. The new, eight-unit bed and breakfast is now open and accepting guests. Ecotech Design, collaborating with the container fabricator CRATE MODULAR and the winery co-owners, Steve Cass and Ted Plemons, chose a 60-foot live oak tree as the centerpiece of the property. Ecotech Design integrated 20 factory-built, steel containers with conventional construction and set them in the rolling hills of the vineyard. Related: Is cargotecture the future of construction? What you need to know for your next project The units incorporate two containers each. The interior of each container is made from locally sourced, sustainable materials and features a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Parking is built underneath the units, so that cars don’t mar the landscape views. The 12-foot high clerestory, cathedral ceilings have multiple operable windows to invite light and fresh air inside. Guests can regulate the temperature and conserve energy by opening and closing these windows. The bridal unit suite is larger and more deluxe than the other units; it is built with a 40-foot and a 20-foot container. There is also an office cluster, which uses four 20-foot containers and features reception areas and a communal deck shaded by an oak tree . The B&B’s earthy exterior color palette complements both the landscape and the wine labels used at Cass Winery . “The design was inspired by the vineyard itself,” said Walter Scott Perry, founder and principal of Ecotech Design . “The most compelling attribute of this project is the use of modular components, in combination with recycled materials, to enhance visual interest and create an impressive panoramic openness that connects interior spaces, walkways, and decks. These connect with the vineyard vistas beyond.” Perry has been a leader in sustainable building design since the 1970s, when he was a part of the passive solar design movement in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the last 15 years, he’s built with shipping containers at sites around California. The winery personnel are excited to welcome guests to stay on the 145-acre vineyard and to serve them an estate breakfast prepared by the executive chef. Many ingredients are grown on-site in the chef gardens . In addition to a deluxe food and wine experience, guests can book a private massage, yoga session, archery lesson, photography workshop or horseback excursion. + Ecotech Design Photography by Paul Vu Photography via Ecotech Design

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Cargotecture meets wine country in Paso Robles

Champagne could lose its classic taste due to climate change

August 9, 2018 by  
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Planning to pull out a bottle of chilled champagne in celebration of your latest accomplishment? Not so fast. The seasonal shifts in temperature that have become more and more extreme over the years are affecting grape production in regions around the world, and that includes the famous Champagne region in France. Champagne grapes depend on a cool climate and chalky soil in order to produce the crisp, fruity taste they are known for. But climate change is making these factors less dependable, and champagne producers in France are worried about the future. Related: The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley In an interview with Bloomberg, Antoine Malassagne, co-owner of champagne maker A.R. Lenoble, explained the difficulties now involved in champagne production. “Harvest is two weeks earlier than it was 20 years ago,” he said. “It used to be mid-to-late September. Now harvest often starts in August, as it will this year. But maturity during hot days and nights results in lower and lower acidity in the grapes, which means less freshness in the wines.” The lower acidity is also problematic for producers, given that acidity is what allows champagne to age, creating the wine’s unique taste. A.R. Lenoble has been combating the gustatory alterations to its products by mixing in reserve wines from older vintages. Louis Roederer, another champagne compnay, has begun experimenting with DNA analysis of yeast and biodynamic viticulture to try and head off the impacts of climate change. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, the company’s chef de cave, has spearheaded these efforts in search of a way “to maintain what has made Champagne’s reputation.” Despite the potential challenges facing champagne producers, Lecaillon is optimistic. “We invented bubbles to make up for unripe grapes. As farmers, our job, our life, our passion has been to adapt to climate change for hundreds of years. If the future heats up too much,” he said, “we’ll just have to make Burgundy.” Via Bloomberg Image by  Anthony Delanoix  on  Unsplash

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The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley

May 28, 2018 by  
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Napa Valley , a world-famous symbol of American excellence in wine, is threatened by too much of a good thing. Ever-increasing wine production has inflicted damage on the region’s economy and ecology.  The industrialization of Napa has resulted in the loss of 95 percent of the oak trees that once covered the valley, and now locals are organizing to protect the area. “With great success came great money and outsiders,” Napa expert and journalist James Conaway told the Guardian . Only a few decades ago, the region was home to fruit orchards and livestock farms as well as vineyards. “Now it’s monoculture with a vengeance,” said Conaway. “Hundreds of miles of steel trellising holding up the vines from one end of the valley to the next. It has an industrial sheen.” Napa County contains California ‘s densest concentration of oak forests, a source of pride for residents that provides invaluable ecological services to the living things that call Napa home. The oak trees sequester carbon, capture rainwater and prevent erosion through their thick roots. The majority of Napa’s oak trees are found in the surrounding hills. However, one-third of the remaining oaks are standing on what is considered to be potential agricultural land. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs  In response to the rapid expansion of the area’s  wine industry, local residents have organized around Measure C, an upcoming ballot initiative that would guarantee protection to much of the remaining oak woodland. While the measure would limit the potential growth of the wine industry, those in favor of it say that they are motivated not by opposition to the wineries, but by an understanding that the valley needs sustainable growth . “Something’s very wrong with the way we are thinking about our resources,” said Warren Winiarski, whose Napa cabernet sauvignon won an upset 1976 taste test victory in Paris and put Napa on the map. “They are finite. And yet we go on with development as though we could do that indefinitely.” Via The Guardian Images via Stan Shebs on Wikimedia Commons (1, 2)

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The growing wine industry is threatening California’s Napa Valley

Renzo Piano embeds modern art gallery with ‘winged’ roof into French vineyard

August 14, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop  unveiled their latest masterpiece: the sunken Cha?teau La Coste Art Gallery in Aix-en-Provence, France. The concrete building is submerged almost 20 feet into a valley at the heart of the expansive Cha?teau La Coste winery and is topped with modernistic white wings that mimic the rolling movement of the surrounding landscape. The building, which is over 3,000 square feet, is embedded in the expansive vineyards of the Cha?teau La Coste winery. The building’s walls were constructed out of thick raw concrete that contrasts drastically with the ultra-green landscape. The neutral concrete color was also chosen for the interior to serve as a minimalistic background to best display the various works on art on exhibition. Large floor-to-ceiling glass walls are located on either side of the gallery and flood the interior with natural light. Individual wine cellars are set into alcoves around the gallery, fusing the world of art with the world of oenology. Related: Italy’s Green-Roofed Antinori Winery is Topped With a Vineyard! The building, which is submerged almost 20 feet into the vineyard’s valley, is topped with a large white “wing” connected to a series of supportive metal arches underneath. The wing runs the length of the gallery, forming an undulating movement that mimics the rolling hills of vineyards that surround the building. The white color and lightness of the airy sail roof adds a bit of whimsy to the sunken concrete structure. According to the architects, the unique rooftop design was inspired by the sails of a boat or kite. “The partly buried building highlights the roof covered with a sail fastened to thin metal arches,” said the studio. “These arches echo the graphical layout of the grapevines, enabling to integrate the sail into the vineyard. As a kite, the sail flies and lands, emphasizing all at once the lightness and ‘horizontalness’ of the building.” + Renzo Piano Building Workshop Via Dezeen

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Vineyard House uses rammed earth to stay cool in the Portuguese heat

March 30, 2016 by  
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Spanish Winemaker Obtains Permission to Cut Down 154 Acres of California Redwoods

October 23, 2013 by  
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As California’s wine industry continues to grow, it has extended its search for suitable areas to grow grapes outside of the valleys and closer to the coast. But Spanish winemaker Artesa Vineyards and Winery is taking this quest too far with plans to destroy 154 acres of coastal redwoods and Douglas firs to make space for new grapevines. With one study indicating that areas suitable for vineyards in the world’s major wine-producing regions could shrink between 19 and 73 percent by 2050, it’s likely that the situation will get worse before it gets better. Read the rest of Spanish Winemaker Obtains Permission to Cut Down 154 Acres of California Redwoods Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 154 Acres of Redwoods , Artesa Vineyards and Winery , Calfornian Redwoods , california wine industry , Deforestation in California , Friends of the Gualala River , redwoods threatened by wineries , Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter , Sonoma county , Spanish winery to cut down California Redwoods , The Center for Biological Diversity        

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The Cascade Project Transforms Disused Staircase into Inspiring Urban Space for Hong Kong Residents

October 23, 2013 by  
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Hong Kong based Edge Design Institute has converted an ordinary public stairway in Hong Kong into a striking, socially engaging public area called The Cascade Project. Located in The Centrium, the asymmetric mesh sculpture offers individual and adjoining seating areas surrounded by Bauhinia trees and assorted plants . In the evening, a strategic lighting system provides an inviting atmosphere that encourages a secure and sociable environment on top of the previously undervalued concrete structure. Read the rest of The Cascade Project Transforms Disused Staircase into Inspiring Urban Space for Hong Kong Residents Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , cascade , edge design institute , green spaces , Hong Kong , Hong Kong green space , Hong Kong urban design , public design projects , public space , The Cascade Project , The Centrium , Urban design , urban renewal        

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