The seeds of one of Australia’s newest wineries and culture parks were sowed long before the fundamentals of the project were determined: the owners of Pt. Leo Estate, which is an hour south of Melbourne, in the heart of wine country, first planted their vineyards decades ago with the vision of one day opening to the public. With the recent completion of the estate, Melbourne-based Jolson architects has helped the clients realize their longstanding dream, which has evolved to include a winery, two restaurants, and a sculpture park on a sprawling 50-acre site along the rugged Mornington Peninsula coast.
A sculpture by Australian-German artist Inge King anchors the forecourt leading to the building’s entrance. Photos © Lucas Allen, click to enlarge.
Capitalizing on the property’s dramatic location, the team embedded the 38,000-square-foot crescent-shaped facility, with its winery and restaurants, in a manmade hillock at the site’s highest point. Visitors are drawn into the building through an hourglass-shaped walled forecourt of poured-in-place concrete and granite paving. The courtyard’s form, notes firm director Stephen Jolson, is an abstraction of wine pouring from a bottle. “We wanted to design a building that almost became a sculpture itself and brought together all the aspects of its context,” he says. The procession through the forecourt leads to a single entrance cut into the ribbon-like concrete wall, which defines the outside space and forms the front facade of the building.
Photos © Lucas Allen
The estate’s art collection includes over 50 sculptures, many of which are large landscape commissions. Jolson’s 20-person studio designed the master plan (assisting curators with the art installation throughout the property), the forecourt, the building, and interiors. Hassell, an Australian landscape firm, executed the design of the grounds, including the meandering pathways across the park. Jolson explains that they didn’t want the building to steal the spotlight from the whole of the complex, so they fused the structure with natural elements, fringing the forecourt with newly planted grapevines that slope up toward the entrance and climb the concrete walls. Other flora, throughout Pt. Leo Estate’s landscape, includes native plantings, such as a bottle tree, inserted in the forecourt.
Photos © Lucas Allen
Jolson calls the winery the “quintessential Australian experience,” celebrating an overall quality of life achievable by enjoying fine wine, intense sunsets, and rugged landscapes. “This property captures it all,” he says.