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    ‘Rubik’s Cube’ wine centre to give South Australia significant tourism boost

    Nathan Johnson

    A unique architect-designed wine centre under construction at a South Australian vineyard is tipped to bring the region hundreds of thousands additional visitors per year.

    The five storey, $14 million glass-encased steel and concrete structure was designed by ADS Architects for the d’Arenberg Wines winery in McLaren Vale, a fast 40km drive south of Adelaide.

    The cellar door currently receives around 50,000 visitors per annum, but Australian winemaker and d’Arenberg owner Chester Osborn says that after his swanky new wine centre is complete, tourist numbers within the vicinity of 500,000 aren’t out of the question.

    Much of that increase will be attributed to the growing wine tourism market in the region but Osborn himself would tell you that his new wine centre, which is modelled off the Rubik’s Cube, will play a major part in this predicted growth.

    The building will add new restaurants, function centres and private and public wine tasting areas to the winery and see d’Arenberg double its current workforce to just over 100. But despite the cost of construction and the new wages bill, Osborn says growth was at the heart of decision to build the new cellar door.

    2.jpgDESIGNING FOR GROWTH

    ADS architects says the building is the most complicated and time-consuming design its ever worked on, and both the d’Arenberg board and local council weren’t overly enthusiastic about the project at first. But despite all the complications, Chester pushed on with the development under the impression that its design will bring in major tourism dollars for the company.

    But while the impact of the building on revenue will be easy counting for the d’Arenberg board, the same can’t be said about the knock-on growth it could create for other local businesses.  

    There have been recent attempts from Australian universities to measure the contribution of architectural services to the broader economy. But because this is an expensive and time consuming process, analysis has generally been confined to bigger case studies like the Sydney Opera House, the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building at UTS and Zaha Hadid’s first Melbourne project at 582-606 Collins Street.

    The difficulty of measuring the value add of good architecture also means that design-driven developments will always take on an element of speculation, and will continue to rely on visionary developers and planning authorities to take a small leap of faith.

    Chester’s leap at the d’Arenberg winery is a giant one. ADS’s design is already being likened to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and Chester says the building will a cellar door like none other.

    “It will be a piece of art – everywhere you look there will be something going on that’s wild and different.”

    “It’s going to change what wine tasting rooms are about.”

    The building is due for completion May 2017. 

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