A pioneer-era vineyard has been brought back to life with new architecture built around and over a river near Juliaetta, Idaho. River Place by Paul F. Hirzel comprises two structures, a residence with guest quarters that cantilevers over the river, and a smaller wine tasting and entertainment facility further up the sloping hill. River Place faces a challenging environment to create a sustainable and serene living space for both the work and pleasure of the occupant.
Paul F. Hirzel’s River Place faces several challenges from the local environment. Summer temperatures can climb toward 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the river often floods during heavy rain periods, and poisonous rattlesnakes inhabit this part of the state. To provide a cool space for the occupants and the wine they produce, Hirzel’s design cantilevers directly over the river on large concrete piers. This provides enough lift over the water’s edge that it can sustain 300- and 500-year flood levels. The raised base of the structure continues over solid land beyond the edge of the river, and the separation from the earth prevents the nesting of local rattlesnakes.
The home itself is a visual stand-out in this part of the country. It is industrially-inspired, with the steel skeleton of a bridge that reinforces its flood-resistant strength. It is progressive in form, but comfortable in furnishing, providing an inspiring and relaxing environment based on the whims of the occupant. It takes in the local breeze and the sound of the river below, providing a nearly constant symphony of the local nature that cannot be experienced the same way from further inland. It is an unique achievement in modern architecture, and one that combines the disciplines of civil engineering, modern architecture and commercial design. Its connection to the river environment is one-of-a-kind, and a pleasure to its occupant and vintner in one. [architect: paul f. hirzel photographer: jim van gundy, robert hutchison via: archdaily]