Martin's Lane Winery

Architect:  Olson Kundig

Owner:  The Mark Anthony Group

Location: Kelowna, British Columbia

A direct response to both program and site, this winery on the shores of British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake leverages its relationship to the land for two distinct but complementary functions. The third in a series of projects for the client, the winery represents the client’s decades-long commitment to the Okanagan Valley and its importance on the world’s vinicultural map.

The design team was tasked with creating a winery to produce the highest quality pinot noir possible. It is perched on a rocky hillside above the lake, split into two interconnected volumes. The rugged structure features a palette of raw, unfinished materials and neutral tones, and the expected weathering of the exterior’s Corten steel will help it blend into the hillside while minimizing maintenance.

The winery’s production side harnesses the steep slope for the winery’s gravity-flow winemaking process, while the visitor-experience side cantilevers over the vineyards, offering sweeping views to visitors. The winery’s process minimizes the manipulation of delicate grapes for the notoriously exacting varietal, often referred to as the “heartbreak grape.” Recently, the winery’s pinot noir received high marks from both Wine Spectator and UK-based Decanter magazine.

Following the light up and through a spiral staircase inspired by the Fibonacci sequence of grapevines, they [visitors] are then directed to a larger tasting room and hospitality area.

Winery visitors enter through a concrete tunnel that carries them to a subterranean tasting room. Following the light up and through a spiral staircase inspired by the Fibonacci sequence of grapevines, they are then directed to a larger tasting room and hospitality area. Along the way, views of the production process encourage a deeper understanding of winemaking.

Passive principles were employed in the design approach for the function-driven winery. Its integration into the landscape offers natural ventilation, daylighting, and earth cooling that provide a 10% reduction in energy use. The combination of the winery’s windows and topographical placement allows it to capture cool breezes from the lake, funneling them through the space. Unique among wineries, the project requires little to no interior conditioning. Its barrel storage, set into the hillside, takes advantage of stable temperatures to maintain an ideal 54 degrees and 75% humidity with no need for conventional heating or cooling systems.

Despite its remote location, the winery draws aficionados from around the globe. Its popularity has further bolstered the client’s commitment to the economic vitality of the region and its reputation for winemaking.

Additional information

BC Collaborating Architect: Meiklejohn Architects Inc.

Engineer - Civil: CTQ

Engineer - Electrical: Falcon Engineering

Engineer - Mechanical: Rocky Point Engineering

Engineer - Structural: Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers

Interior Architecture: GCA Architects

Landscape Architect: Paul Sangha Landscape Architecture

Lighting Design: Niteo

General Contractor: PCL Construction

Winery Design Consultant: Laurence Ferar


Kim Yao, AIA, Chair, Architecture Research Office (ARO), New York, New York

Phillip Bernstein, FAIA, Yale Architecture School, New Haven, Connecticut

Melissa Daniel, Assoc. AIA, Amentum, Annapolis Junction, Maryland

Magdalena Glen-Schieneman, AIA, MGS Architecture, Marina del Rey, California

Jim McDonald, FAIA, A&E Architects, Missoula, Montana

Marianne McKenna, KPMB Architects, Tornoto, Ontario

Conor Merrit, AIAS, University in St. Louis, Waite Hill, Ohio

Keith Lashley, AIA, HKS, Winter Haven, Florida

JoAnn Wilcox, AIA, Mithun, Seattle, Washington

Image credits

Martin's Lane Winery exterior

Nic Lehoux

Martin’s Lane Winery-03

Nic Lehoux

Martin’s Lane Winery-06

Nic Lehoux

Martin’s Lane Winery-05

Nic Lehoux

Martin's Lane Winery interior

Nic Lehoux