Adega_Designing A New Meaning

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Adega_Designing A New Meaning

Benedicte Brekke

The proposal explores the design of a winery on the volcanic island Pico, one of the nine islands in the Azores. The Azores is situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and belongs to Portugal. Pico is on the UNESCO World Heritage list due to it’s fascinating history of wine-making. The island is covered with low basalt walls (“currais”) that has protected their wines since the 15th century. These walls are the reason the island is listed, and played an important part of my project.

The project is simply named ‘Adega’, the Portuguese word for winery. The word adega goes beyond the English word, and describes a vineyard, a wine cellar, a place where people gather and celebrate. I wanted to propose an adega that not only met the modern standards of wine production, but that included spaces and functions for the community and tourists to enjoy. This is why the proposed vineyard has a public hall which can function as a tasting room with simple serving, an auditorium for films or lectures or a venue for hire.

The plan and volumes of the building talk about the small scale of the surrounding buildings – I wanted to mirror the existing fabric and by doing so completing the public square at my chosen site.




Who influences you graphically?

Everyone/everything. I spend quite a lot of time browsing through books and the internet for inspiration, my graphic style is a combination of what I see and may vary from project to project. The site will always influence how I chose to represent the drawings as well. Researching and drawing the site is one of my favourite aspects of the design process, as getting to know the site will of course in one way or another always inform my design decisions. It gives me confidence in the design process to get to know and draw the site well.

Your project expands the ‘Adega’ from a normal winery to a space which focuses on the interaction between people, however you seize to represent these communal scenes, why so?  

I guess this comes from a combination of factors. I noticed a lack of communal spaces on the island, so I felt that it was important that any new proposal took this into consideration. That being said, I have always been interested in how buildings can help improve the social setting of an area, and will therefore always try to incorporate this in the design where it can be done. Because of this, my project took a social stand and focused on this, rather than the technicalities of wine production.

What is the purpose of the axonometric from below? 

As already mentioned, the site will always play a big role in the design evolution for me. On Pico Island, which is a volcanic island, there are lava tubes that we were lucky enough to visit. These are spaces underground that have been shaped by lava flows from earlier eruptions on the island. They reminded me of architectural vaults, which lead me to design a vaulted wine cellar (much like traditional wine cellars). This ‘underworld’ of Pico island had a big influence on my project, both in terms of the shape and height of these vaults as well as the texture (concrete with basalt aggregate). This axonometric sums up my efforts to design this underworld and how the vaults were ‘echoed’ out in the rest of the building. I tend to use line drawings when I just want to illustrate a series of spaces or volumes in a more ‘matter-of-fact’ way, without focusing on atmosphere.

You explore the site through a multitude of representations, how do you use colour and texture to reveal diverse aspects of it? 

Both colour and texture are important to me when I study the site, as they help me make up the details of an area that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to read at the scale site drawings are normally drawn. I quite like to be able to talk about these details in large scale drawings, as it will often introduce aspects I would like to focus on in the design. In a way I use site maps and sections to sum up what I’ve taken from a particular site. How I use texture and colour will often vary from project to project, depending on what I aim to convey. Texture is important to represent landscape, as this is often left out of many architectural drawings. When it comes to colour, I often decide on a colour template that will follow the project throughout and even inform the layout of the final presentation. For example with the ‘adega’ project, green, black, burnt orange and grey were (to me) important colours of Pico, and remained important throughout the project and presentation of it.

What is the atmosphere conveyed by the black and white images in juxtaposition to coloured pastel card? 

I often use black and white images when I want to focus on texture or shape rather than colour, as I believe you often have to make a choice in what you want to convey with the image, rather than confuse it with too much information. For example, the wine cellar image was meant to illustrate the low ceiling height (you can almost touch the ceiling of the vaults) and the rough texture of the concrete. These design decisions were as previously mentioned inspired by the wish to create a private ‘underworld’ for the vineyard, one that would talk about the existing underworld of Pico Island.


Liv Benedicte Brekke is an architect in Oslo. She finished her degree in June 2015, graduating with an MArch from Kingston School of Architecture. She is fascinated by urban design that engages with social and cultural issues. Her skills and passion for architectural graphics has given her job opportunities as a freelance graphic designer. She is currently working full time as an architect for a small practice in Oslo that deals mainly with housing.



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