A curvaceous concrete winery pavilion near the southern tip of Australia was conceived by Melbourne’s Centrum Architects as a massive lantern to draw curious visitors.
The true purpose of Centrum Architects‘ new winery pavilion in Melbourne is two-fold. It provides a shaded year-round space where visitors can grab a fresh pizza at the Leura Park Estate winery, and it’s also a form of architectural advertising designed to grab attention. The pavilion sits just a few metres from an otherwise empty stretch of the wide Portarlington Highway that chases the Bellarine Peninsula as it projects east into Melbourne’s Port Philip, with its face towards oncoming traffic. The primary directive, the architects say, is to “attract people,” based on an unusual client brief that asked, “Give me a shed with a hair-do.”
With that brief in hand, a unique form was a priority from the beginning. For inspiration, the architects turned to the estate’s name – “leura” is derived from the Aboriginal word for lava – and from the unusual wrinkled rock formations found in pahoehoe lava flows. In their interpretation, the design team imagined the roof and western wall as a shell composed from four sections of curving high-performance concrete that rise from the ground before folding over, propped up with angled steel columns and filled in with sections of glass. The four concrete sections have the same shape, but tilted slightly relative one another. Although initially conceived for off-site prefabrication, it ultimately proved faster and more economical to cast the sections in situ.
Inside is a spartan expanse of concrete left open and adaptable to a variety of uses, from hosting weddings to staging jazz performances. The thickness of the exposed concrete walls provides excellent thermal massing, which allowed Centrum to rely on passive cooling and ventilation, forgoing the need for mechanical and water systems.
At night, the winery pavilion lights up from within, a “roadside lantern” that acts as a beacon for passing drivers. The pavilion seems to be fulfilling its primary goals as well; according to the architects, since its opening last fall “it has succeeded in attracting people, causing drivers to swing into the car-park and take photos during the quiet weekdays and stop for pizza and a drink on the weekend, and has become an unexpected icon for Bellarine Peninsula tourism.”