This wine visitor centre in Thailand has us itching for to sit under the cool veranda with good glass of grape-infused goodness overlooking a beautiful 200 acre vineyard. The Sala Visitor Centre is part of the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, about 3 hours south of Bangkok in the coastal resort town of Hua Hin. Designed by Sylvia Soh of Soh Design Studio, the Sala is a gorgeous traditional Thai building with a sweeping roof that showcases local natural materials like bamboo, rattan and wood. Efficient cooling is a necessity in the hot and humid Thai climate, so traditional passive cooling strategies were implemented as well.
The Sala Visitor Centre introduces visitors to local viticulture and oenology by offering local wines and fine dining. An exhibition on local wines serves as the entrance to the center, then visitors are enticed by a wine bar & bistro, a retail shop, an underground wine cellar, and a meeting facility. The Thai-inspired pavilion is characterized by the large curving Cedar shingle roof — a traditional design seen throughout the region that helps with passive cooling. Local materials like brick, bamboo, rattan, and wood are also used to invoke traditional Thai architecture.
To keep the visitor centre cool, strategies like large, open walkways, platforms with operable windows and doors, high roofs, generous overhangs, and an elevated structure, were employed to encourage natural ventilation. The entire structure was oriented to receive the prevailing winds while shading it from the hot afternoon sun. Large windows are used to draw in natural daylighting and to provide excellent views of the vineyard below. Wine is stored underground in a cellar to keep it cool with minimal energy use.
Soh Design Studio’s pavilion for the winery is a beautiful piece of architecture that serves its purpose beautifully while artfully utilizing natural techniques to achieve a low energy building. The Sala Visitor Centre is also one of the winners of 7th World Architecture Awards.
Images © Soh Design Studio