Waterford Beerhall Competition, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Daffonchio was invited to participate in a competition to conceptualise a new microbrewery and beerhall on an established wine farm in Stellenbosch. Located at the foot of the Suurberg and Driekop Mountains, the site is surrounded by rows of tall trees to the south and west, a lake to the north and vineyards to the east.
The brief was to showcase the workings of and processes involved in the brewing of beer on a small scale, while at the same time providing an opportunity for the visitors to enjoy the various brews produced by the microbrewery.
Through a phenomenological approach to reading the site, an expression was derived from the abstraction of the dominant elements found on the site, in an attempt to capture the atmosphere and enhance the character of the site. The unmistakable presence of the mountain, the commanding verticality of the trees and the juxtaposition of the primary elements (fire, air, water, and earth) together, create a hyperawareness of the spirit of place.
When approaching the site, the building is completely hidden behind carefully positioned grass berms. The placement of these berms create a winding entrance path that twists and turns, deliberately framing dramatic views of the water and mountains, while slowly revealing elements of the building to the visitor.
The intention was to blend the structure into its environment by manipulating the textures of the materials used and mimicking elements found on the site. The strongly angled roof plane made from off shutter concrete is supported by a careful arrangement of slanted steel columns.
Internally, the bar and microbrewery stand as objects in the space, defining the relationship between the public and the private areas.
The undulating glass membrane sets up an interesting tension as it weaves through the slanted columns, defining pockets of space inside and outside the structure. When the glass is opened up, the definition between inside and outside is blurred by the seemingly irregular placement of the columns and the continuation of both the floor and roof planes. The warm colour and rich texture of the brick floor is emphasised and contrasted by polished brass strips that are laid into the floor. The underside of the concrete roof is illuminated by a sea of delicate lights made from glass balls of various sizes, creating the impression of thousands of beer bubbles beneath the roof.
A deliberate tension has been set up between the raw and rough materials of the roof, floor and columns and the very refined elements such as the glass, lights and copper fireplaces, resulting in an enriched sensory experience for the user.