International Architecture Awards Tell a friend

International Architecture Awards ARCHIVE 2023 International Architecture Awards
CheckMate Winery, Oliver, British Columbia, Canada | 2021
  • CheckMate Winery, Oliver, British Columbia, Canada | 2021
  • CheckMate Winery, Oliver, British Columbia, Canada | 2021
  • CheckMate Winery, Oliver, British Columbia, Canada | 2021
CheckMate Winery, Oliver, British Columbia, Canada | 2021

Architects: Olson Kundig Architects
Associate Architects: Meiklejohn Architects Inc.
General Contractor: Vines & Rebar
Client: CheckMate Winery
Photographers: Nic Lehoux

The newest winery in the von Mandl Family Estates portfolio, CheckMate Winery revitalizes an existing winemaking facility, refining the processing areas and adding new tasting rooms with layered views of surrounding vineyards and the Okanagan Valley beyond. Envisioned as a signature object set into the hillside, CheckMate Winery balances bold architectural gestures with deference to the surrounding environment.

The clean, sharp lines of the building are visually distinct from others in the region and create an elegant contrast to the gentle slopes and curves of the landscape. The new building expands the existing footprint of the cinderblock production facility, wrapping public and private volumes in a graphic black and white skin. Appearing solid from a distance, this perforated metal façade creates varying degrees of opacity that reveal the building interior and hint at the experience taking place within.

In addition to supporting the CheckMate brand, the white panels help to reduce solar heat gain, keeping the building cooler during warm summer months. Existing and expanded production areas along the building’s north side step down from street level, integrating the sequence of winemaking with the topography of the site.

Elements of the original building remain legible from interior processing areas to celebrate the heritage of the facility as the foundation for its future. CheckMate’s entry promenade is framed by symmetrical water features, culminating in a textural bronze entry door. Inside, a curving bronze bar and custom wooden screen – an abstracted, textural chessboard – create a threshold to the tasting rooms beyond. Here an interior tasting room introduces an intimate gathering zone with views of the production areas below. Just beyond, an exterior tasting room cantilevers across the landscape, with metal fins to protect guests from strong winds across the valley.

Throughout the upper-level hospitality spaces, exposed structural steel celebrates the craft and engineering of the facility’s dramatic roofline. A hidden stairway provides access to a lower-level VIP tasting room and showcases a barrel cellar, fostering an exclusive experience of CheckMate’s premium wines. Additional back-of-house administrative and production spaces, as well as a separate barrel storage building, complete the winery’s program.