The Evening Land Winery
Santa Barbara, California

The name of this winery comes from Greek mythology, a reference to Hesperia, the western land of calm, beauty, golden harvests, and sunsets. Protected from mortals by the three daughters of Atlas, the Hesperides, this land lies over the western seas and is unattainable by man.

This was the narrative starting point in our study of a 500 acre site just north of Santa Barbara, less than five miles from the Pacific. A narrow strip of land, steeply sloping north possesses breathtaking views in every direction, 360 degrees. We felt the immense scale of the valley and mountains would make almost any structure pale in comparison.

The scheme for the first building is perched at the edge of the western edge of the lower vineyard, on a very steep ridge. Approaching from the east, a large pool reflects the vast sky. A staircase descends into the center of the pool, mimicking the journeys of the ancient Greeks westward, across the sea in search of Hesperia, and in the case of ELV Winery, the perfect, but unattainable bottle of wine. At the bottom of the stair, doors lead into the barrel storage room. A sculptural screen on the west filters light for the winemakers during the day.

From the exterior, the screen forms allude to the golden harvests of Hesperia, the making of wine, and the preciousness of the barrels within. The building is also largely driven to be “green”. The placement on the ridge crest takes away little of the usable planting area. The minimal cuts into the ridge reinforce the slope and protect from erosion. The subterranean location reduces the cooling load, and thus energy consumption. In addition, the reflecting pond provides passive evaporative cooling. The final cooling component utilizes a geothermal cooling pump. The screen, developed in relation to the sun, reduces the need for artificial lighting during work hours. Two additional storage buildings and a wine production facility are planned for the future.