This weekend I enjoyed a quick trip out of town to the Allison Inn, in the heart of wine country. The Allison Inn is a destination resort in the Willamette Valley, built to LEED Gold standards by the firm GGLO out of Seattle. What I enjoy best about this place, aside from the luxurious amenities, is the attention to detail in the way it was constructed. A nautilus inspired spiral staircase overlooks the lobby and allows views to the rolling hills beyond. The palate is very Pacific NW with wood, steel, concrete and a lot of stone. Entrances are marked with water flowing over boulders, creating a buffer of calmness and coolness between the outside world and the oasis within. The basic skin of the building are wood panels held off the structure as a rain screen with fairly large gaps in between. This allows for plenty of reveals on the building's surface, something that is played up inside as well with many linear details repeated throughout the interior space. The linearity is broken up only by the large walls of stone blocks which gently taper down to landscape walls then to organically placed boulders.
This area of the Willamette Valley is rich with silty, rocky soil creating the perfect ingredient to successfully grow a lush variety of grapes. The Inn is bordered by it's own grape orchard, as well as an amazing chef's garden complimenting the farm to table inspirations at the Jory Restaurant. The landscaping surrounding the Allison is full of drought resistant varieties happily thriving in this clay rich soil. Gravel paths circle the building with an abundance of sculptures and art installations at every turn. The attention to detail is perhaps most evident in the arrival sequence. GGLO describes this as a "carefully choreographed act of concealing and revealing". On their website they illustrate the project's journey through a series of sketches and photos, the arrival sequence in particular being informed by elegant materials, framed views, nuanced lighting, seasonal planting displays, etc.. This sequence created to highten one's anticipation can be seen in a more organic way throughout the wineries we visited while in the area. Long gravel roads, past ribbons of vines and many times hazelnut orchards, offering peeks at the upcoming tasting room, but rarely a full reveal of the manor at the very highest point of that acreage.