DTAH (du Toit Allsopp Hillier)
DESIGN – Regional Citation
Southbrook vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake is a LEED Gold, certified organic winery in the Niagara Region. Covering 2 x 75 acre plots, the facility includes vineyards, a production compound and a central pavilion housing tasting rooms and retail outlet, a demonstration kitchen with dining rooms,
and administrative offices.
The built form and landscape composition express the linearity of vineyards while obliquely addressing Highway 55 as it cuts diagonally north-east towards Virgil and Niagara-on the-Lake. The landscape design is completely deferential to its setting. Arrival, parking and strolling to the entry
provides a sequence of panoramic vantage points ofthe pavilion within its simple, delineated landscape. The pavilion forecourt is partitioned by a reflecting pool and a bioswale which are in turn, traversed by contrasting access drives and walks. Once through the massive wall entry portal, the
glazed pavilion rooms and terraces sit within or extend into the vineyard beyond.
Planting includes both wet and dry meadow wildflower mixes for the bioswale, mixed with clusters of red and yellow dogwoods, and building grounds. Linear beds of yarrow, sedum, lavender, and calamagrostis, are used in the forecourt garden. Poplar wind rows extend the built form while clump
maple and amelanchier groves soften the production compound.
As a biodynamic facility, organic principles of soil enrichment and pest control were anticipated and observed. Sheep tend to the vineyard “weeding” while also lending a cheeky pastoral charm to the bucollc stage.
Southbrook embraces and demonstrates leading biodynamic, organic vineyard practices. “Organic grape growing in its most complex and holistic form, biodynamics, is almost Zen and the art of vineyard maintenance. Lunar calendars are used to signal different farming activities and mystical practices are employed, like burying cow’s horns. Wineries strive to get their soil, animals, insects and plants into a vibrant and interdependent synergy”. – Toronto Star, Sept. 3. 2009
The collective expression of the winery architecture and landscape design is both strident and relaxed in its setting. Composition, colour, reading and experience build upon and strengthen each other. The juxtaposition of comfortable, contemporary gardens and built fomr with the immediacy of
the vineyard, livestock and the elements is remarkably agreeable. The landscape architects role included all aspects of the site design, apart from the vineyards and the post construction perennial planting on the septic beds. Jack Diamond conceived the pavilion and garden wall composition which we whole heartedly supported and strengthened with the landscape.