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Vertical Panorama Pavilion


Überkopfverglasungen , Kultur , Nordamerika

Location: The Donum Estate, Sonoma, California, USA
Designers: Studio Other Spaces – Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann
General contractor: Cello & Maudru Construction
Glass fabrication: König Glasbau
Canopy fabrication and installation: Hahner Technik
Partners: ART Engineering (engineering), Signum Architecture (consulting architect), Summit Engineering (consulting engineer)
Featured product: Vanceva™ PVB interlayers in 24 variations of transparent hues
Completed: August 2022
Glass surface area: Approx. 193 m2
Photo credits:  © Adam Potts

Bold and beautiful colors set the stage at the Donum Estate

For visitors to the Donum Estate in Sonoma, California, a leading producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Vertical Panorama Pavilion provides an immersive experience that engages all the senses. From the crunchy gravel walking path and rustle of wind to the earthy scent of rich soil and the delightful taste of wine, this venue offers a truly captivating experience. At the heart of it all is the multicolored glass-canopy pavilion that serves as a shelter for hospitality.

Nature's inspiration

When artist Olafur Eliasson and architect Sebastian Behmann of the Berlin-based Studio Other Spaces (SOS) were tasked with creating a unique wine-tasting venue at the Donum Estate, they envisioned a fusion of art and architecture that would showcase the region’s resources and depict the vineyard’s cycle of life.

The Vertical Panorama Pavilion stands as a sparkling gem amid the landscape. Inspired by historical circular calendars, the pavilion’s canopy is a conical shape with a diameter of 14.5 meters. It features 832 laminated glass panels with 24 variations of transparent hues using Vanceva™ Color PVB interlayers. These colors — including shades of green, gold, red, burgundy, violet and blue — represent the four meteorological parameters of a regional weather calendar: solar radiance, wind intensity, temperature and humidity.

“The pavilion incorporates the surrounding elements such as soil, vegetation, wind, sun, atmosphere and rain into its colorful canopy, reflecting the unique essence of the wine,” explains Eliasson.

An explosion of color

The design of the pavilion begins with a path that leads visitors to the entrance. Alongside the path, earthy, glazed bricks form a wall on the hillside. At the entrance, the wall reaches eye level, allowing visitors to come face-to-face with the horizon.

Under the glass canopy, three circular spaces are carved into the earth to host wine-tasting events: an arrival space measuring 13 square meters, a larger tasting space measuring 19 square meters, and a service space measuring 5 square meters. Low lounge seating provides a panoramic view of the Sonoma Valley, San Pablo Bay, the Domaine Carneros winery and the Donum Collection, which showcases 50 works of site-specific art and sculpture. The colorful glass panels draw visitors’ attention to the open apex of the canopy, connecting them with the sky.

“This pavilion perfectly combines our passions for wine, nature, art, design and architecture. It is the result of our continuous effort to enhance the sensory experiences of sight, sound and scent for all our guests,” said Mei Warburg, owner of The Donum Estate.

A toast to design ingenuity

Much of the construction of the multifaceted canopy took place off site. König Glasbau fabricated the laminated glass panels at its facility in Helmstedt, Germany. Between the glass panels, up to four Vanceva Color PVB interlayers were combined to create 24 shades.

To provide solar protection and durability during temperature fluctuations, an additional solar coating was applied to the inside of the glazing. This coating gives a silver tint to the glass, complementing the stainless steel framework.

To achieve a seamless interface between the glass and steel framing, individual glass panels are held by a custom aluminum frame and pinned to the bracing structure on a custom-made U-channel. This setup allows the glass panels to align without overlapping, preserving the pure colors of each panel and ensuring proper water drainage. The unique design allows for thermal expansion and contraction, enabling the panels to move individually.

Put to the test

The design took into consideration the regional climate conditions in northern California. A scale model was built and tested in a wind tunnel to optimize the cooling effect of the prevailing southwesterly wind. The conical shape and north-facing oculus allow any heat build-up to smoothly exit through the top of the pavilion.

Fabricating the steel structure

SOS created the 14.5-meter-diameter canopy using a combination of circular and square hollow steel sections mounted on a spiral-base ring beam. The diameter of the brace sections start at 76 millimeters and decrease to 38 millimeters as they ascend, shifting in section at every second joint, which occurs approximately every 1.5 meters of steel length. The weight load of the canopy is transferred down onto pin joints that sit atop 12 coated structural columns.

The design was optimized using Grasshopper software before being rendered into a 3D model and sent to Hahner Technik for fabrication in Germany. Hahner Technik fabricated the complex steel lattice framework using temporary pin jointing so that the entire structure could be transported from Germany and reassembled and welded together in the U.S. Engineers and technicians from Hahner Technik performed the welding and installation of the colored panels, which are set in aluminum frames. Finally, the roof structure was hoisted into place onto the 12 coated structural columns.

Truly a gift

The name “Donum” is Latin for “gift of the land.” The vineyard's biodynamic and organic farming practices create an environment where the vines can thrive and produce the highest quality fruit.

“Ground conditions and orientation are fundamental,” explained Behmann. “These, along with factors such as rainfall, sunlight, wind and temperature, influence the decisions on how the wine is produced, blended and stored. Each color in the canopy glass represents one of these variables, making the pavilion a representation of everything happening on the site.”

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