Crowning the Tower. It’s Just Like Legos! Not.

Bjella Architects Sonoma California Tower

“Do the workers on the job site ever throw things at you”?

“Have you ever had a nail gun “accidentally” discharge into your thigh?”

“Do you have to dodge dirty buckets of water tipped from floors above”?

The answer to these questions is no, but probably should be yes. Why? Not because architects are mortal enemies of contractors (usually it’s more of a love fest with our contractors – we are fortunate to work with the best), but rather because we often push them to extremes.

This house and winery in Sonoma, California is a good example. Its heavy timber “crown” was painstakingly built on the ground and lifted by crane to cap the home’s lookout tower. It sure was easy to draw it on paper, but building it was somewhat more complicated. It is designed with concealed connections, which is where it gets tricky. You cannot simply nail or glue heavy timbers together. You have to bolt them (for some reason our clients don’t like their homes crashing down on them in the middle of the night – go figure). But we didn’t want to see the bolts.
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If you are wondering about the design idea, the inspiration, for this home/winery:

  • The tower is symbolic of a wine bottle (this is a winery after all!).
  • The crown is the cork in the wine bottle.
  • The arched, barrel roof is derived from a wine barrel lying on its side.
  • The colors and materials are natural and “of the vineyard.”
    • The lumber for the crown was milled from trees on the site.
    • The colors of the home are found in the surrounding soils and Madrone tree bark.
    • The stone emanates from a nearby quarry, selected to match the site’s natural rock outcroppings

 Silhouette of Modern Home in Sonoma California by Bjella Architects

For more about the vineyard and its fantastic wines, check out the Gustafson Family Vineyard.

See more of my work at Arteriors Architecture.