Finalist 2023

Delatite Cellar Door

Lucy Clemenger Architects / Delatite Wines / Landscape Architect - Tommy Gordon, Art Gardens Australia

The Delatite Cellar Door sets a benchmark for excellence in design innovation, circular design practice and environmentally sustainable commercial development.

With sweeping views across Taungurung Country, the Delatite Cellar Door provides a unique wine tasting and dining experience located in the foothills of the Victorian Alps. The building utilises environmentally sustainable design principles and reflects the warmth and generosity of Delatite’s owners in a new commercial setting.

The Cellar Door sets a benchmark for excellence in design innovation, circular design practice and environmental stewardship. The project demonstrates that architecture and interior design can exceed the sustainable goals of a hospitality venue and provide delightful and enduring spaces to inhabit.

Design Brief:

Delatite are committed to sustainability via their biodynamic farming and wine production practices and aim to minimise their impact on the natural environment. The design for the Cellar Door was to reflect the established core values of our clients and achieve the most environmentally responsible built outcome. An integral part of the brief was to respect the land and to be self-sustainable from a resources point of view.

The development was to allow Delatite to showcase their wines and expand their business. The masterplan was to accommodate a multitude of experiences including the annual Harvest Moon festival, Music in the Vines, local farmers markets, vineyard tours, dining, wine tasting and private events.

The brief for the building included a tasting bar, retail space, commercial kitchen and small dining room, a large outdoor deck, landscaped terraces, separate amenities block, wood storage, back of house areas and storage.


This project was developed by:

Lucy Clemenger Architects

Delatite Wines

Landscape Architect - Tommy Gordon, Art Gardens Australia

Design Process

Lucy Clemenger Architects were engaged to design the architecture and interior design for the Cellar Door. The landscape was designed by Tommy Gordon. In collaboration with the client, decisions relating to water, landscape, and waste ensured best practice was employed. The owners know the land intimately and were best placed to advise on strategies to support the ecology of the site.

The site affords wonderful panoramic views towards Mount Buller, the High Country, and surrounding farmland. The building was sited to effectively capture the views. Stretched out along the ridgeline a series of pavilions are connected to the landscape with expansive decks, terraces, and courtyards.

The architecture provides an impression of monumentality. Timbercrete masonry grounds the building. Blade walls extend into the landscape with curated openings allowing glimpses through and across the building and surrounding vines. Tall chimneys and skylights punctuate the interior. Acting as markers they anchor the building in the landscape and spark a dialogue with the original winery building.

Timber cladding references the construction of local cattlemen’s huts and wraps the building in a rich textural warmth. The palette draws upon the deep hues of the Howqua River and the rugged high-country bushland.

The interior spaces have a domestic quality, evoking family gatherings and hospitality. Inspired by the everchanging vineyard the deep green tasting bar reflects the verdant tint of Delatite’s Riesling, and the burgundy tones of the dining room mimic the cool climate wines. Steel details are a nod to the once notorious bushranger.

The reduced palette of Timbercrete, timber lining, concrete aggregate and raw steel is used to create robust forms, frame views, draw light into the building and create a warm and generous interior.

The project responds directly to place and provides a memorable experience for visitors to experience all that Delatite offers.

Design Excellence

The Cellar Door sets a benchmark for excellence in design innovation, circular design practice and environmental stewardship.

The design responds to the established values of our clients and demonstrates that architecture and interior design practice can exceed the sustainable goals of a hospitality venue and provide delightful and enduring spaces to inhabit.

The Delatite Cellar Door is a comfortable, fully self-sustainable building. The building produces more energy than is required from a PV solar array and relies solely on harvested rainwater. Thermal mass and shading as well as orientation of the building, ceiling fans and cross ventilation are utilised to help keep the building as thermally comfortable as possible, maintaining stable temperatures throughout the year, and minimising energy usage for heating and cooling.

The building incorporates biophilic design principles by using natural materials, connecting the user to the landscape and prioritising natural ventilation and daylighting. Openings are provided to give extensive views of the far-reaching landscape. Smaller curated views give closer connection to planted gardens.

Designed for universal access the building provides safe and easy spaces to navigate. The interiors immerse the visitor in the landscape whilst providing shelter from the extreme weather.

Designed to endure the harsh climatic conditions, robust and durable materials have been employed throughout. High quality fittings and fixtures, and local furniture are specified.

Whilst a small footprint was proposed, the building is resilient and adaptable to change to allow for an increase in visitor numbers. The masterplan is designed with areas set aside for marquees, festivals and events and the amenities block is separate to the main building, allowing it to service functions not held in the building.

The design reflects the brand values of our clients allowing Delatite to continue to lead in the field of viticulture and now the wine and restaurant business.

Design Innovation

Delatite is a landmark development for the local community and an exemplary project for the viticulture industry.

As a commercial development Delatite is designed to enable all aspects of the business and operations to advance sustainability and a circular economy.

Located on a large farm nestled at the foot of the Victorian Alps, Mansfield can see winter temperatures drop close to zero while soaring close to forty degrees in the summer months. The building deals with extreme temperature changes throughout the year, expected only to worsen due to climate change.

The building is 100% electric, including the commercial kitchen, and all heating and cooling. A solar panel array and storage battery generates all power making the new Cellar Door operationally net-zero benefiting the business, the environment, and the patron.

Timbercrete, a sustainable masonry product was selected as the principal building material. A blend of cement and recycled timber waste product, unlike traditional masonry it requires no firing and offers excellent thermal, acoustic and fireproof properties, is easily maintained, repaired, and acts as a carbon trap. The material is used in large blade walls to define external courtyards, provides thermal mass to the building and has been used to create a custom serrated museum wine wall.

Delatite is designed to be resilient and adaptable to change with a large deck that can be roofed to allow for an increase in numbers. The design of the building and landscape enables the spaces to open or close to the exterior, allowing a multitude of events to take place simultaneously including farmers markets, festivals, weddings, summit club dinners, private events, wine tastings, vineyard tours and educational activities.

Design Impact

The Cellar Door was designed to increase visitation, showcase Delatite’s values and commitment to sustainability, and enable Delatite to share their site with the community. The investment in professional design services has resulted in increased sales and customer loyalty. Since opening visitation has tripled from 8,000 to 24,000 people per year. The project has resulted in job creation benefiting the local community and economy and has increased Delatite’s summit club membership and wine sales.

A small footprint building, the Cellar Door respects the land where it is sited and its patrons, leading to a better and safer environment. The use of space to create both a large presence and a feeling of intimacy is often commented on by visitors who say they would like to move in! The design provides flexibility allowing patrons to gather or move around the building with large shaded outdoor areas and protected indoor spaces.

The building demonstrates that sustainable design can improve the quality of life for people and the planet. The materials specified can be reused or recycled and are from sustainable sources supporting a circular economy. The focus on locally sourced materials and locally designed and manufactured lighting and furniture showcase and support the local economy and help to sustain a prosperous future.

Material selection considered their origin, manufacturing process, travel to site as well as on-going maintenance and longevity to reduce environmental, health and social impact throughout their life cycle. Specifying locally made products and materials addresses supply chain slavery and guarantees good working conditions.

The project has been recognised recently with numerous industry awards including the Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for Commercial Architecture in the Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Awards.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

The adaptive reuse of existing spaces is a sustainable aspect of the centre's design. Rather than demolishing the existing building, the project repurposed the space, reducing waste and minimizing the carbon footprint associated with new construction. This also preserves the history and character of the building, promoting a sense of place and community identity. Finally, the recycling of building materials is another way in which the Darebin Intercultural Centre promotes sustainability. During the construction process, the project recycled building materials, reducing waste and minimizing the environmental impact of the project.

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