Weiland Sliding Doors & Windows | Newsletter
Architect Interview

In this month's newsletter we asked Sasha Janev of Backen Gillam Kroeger Architects about designing the Kenzo Winery, located in Napa Valley. The architecture firm designs many of the region's wineries.
Bird Rock, La Jolla
What is your background and how has it influenced your work?
I currently work for Backen, Gillam and Kroeger Architects, a medium-sized architectural firm located in the San Francisco bay area. We have two offices, one in Sausalito and another in the heart of the Napa Valley, in the town of Saint Helena. I'm originally from Europe, so my background is influenced by European architecture. My recent work is greatly influenced by our firm's principal, Howard J. Backen.
Bird Rock, La Jolla
How does region or site location influence the concept behind this project?
Napa Valley is known as a wine growing region and it’s farming roots influenced our concept for the project. We wanted the winery to blend in with the surroundings. Our design integrates the building with the surrounding vineyard, from the overall compound layout, their orientation, and access and functionality of the building details. The building has two levels. Below is the fermentation room and the upper level is the tasting room, looking down into the winery. There are two patios with stone floors that run between the interior and exterior with the same surface, with pocket doors. One patio borders the demonstration vineyard that shows different grape varieties for touring visitors. Our goal was to tell the story of the winery. This includes establishing the connection between growing grapes and the wine making process, and enjoying it in the end.
What were some of the challenges of designing the winery?
One of our biggest challenges was a relatively short construction time. Getting the doors and windows to the site in just seven weeks helped us complete the project on time.
Bird Rock, La Jolla
What aspects of your work do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the opportunity of transforming an idea. It starts with a single thought, followed by a series of line drawings, and ultimately ends with a structure that takes a life of it's own for years to come.
Bird Rock, La Jolla
What is the significance of using large openings in this project?
Besides capturing and framing magnificent views, large openings gave us the ability to seamlessly transition from indoor to outdoor spaces and erase the boundary where one space ends and another one begins.

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