A Rural Village in Wine Country

Why develop a village?

The existing site, located in the rural wine country of northern California, near the crossroads of Dry Creek Road, Frei Brothers Winery Road, and Lambert Bridge Road.

Aerial of Drycreek Village site

Existing Site’s Aerial Image (photo credit: Google Earth)

The site is anchored by a General Store that had been established in 1881; which currently serves as a tourist gift shop and restaurant.

Drycreek General Store - Heinz Steiner

Dry Creek General Store (photo credit – Heinz Steiner)

The concept was to expand upon the existing historic uses in order to develop a more urbane village located in a semi-rural setting. This would provide housing for winery workers as well as vacation homes for residents of the Bay Area (located some three hours away).

The development of the concept

Drycreek Village - concept sketch

Preliminary Sketch for Village as Italian Hilltown (illustration by author, existing structures are depicted in black, the arroyo with new bridge is pochéd)

The initial development sketches presumed an Italian Hilltown aesthetic, evidenced by the more solid blocks with small internal courtyards.

vignette pencil 1

Initial Pencil Sketch of New Housing Row (illustration bu author, note focus on new bridge in distance)

Upon further development, the imagery for the new village focused more on the historic Swiss canton to reflect the influences of early Italian-Swiss emigrants to the region, and their influence on the Northern California wine industry. This permitted the concept to open up into a series of interconnected plazas and courtyards, while permitting a wider housing typology range.

Teldeschi Winery - Heinz Steiner

View Across Valley from Top of Site’s Knoll, at the Teldeschi Winery (photo credit: Heinz Steiner, note Dry Creek General Store to the left)

axo draft 1

Preliminary inked sketch of village (illustration by author)

After a period of exploratory sketches and modifications the final village layout began to take form.

Final inked renderings


Inked Rendering of New Residential Row (illustration by author, finalized from pencil sketch)

The image above incorporates more of the Swiss canton architectural elements: stone masonry, tile/slate roofing, exposed timber framing, and wrought iron detailing. This is the final inked rendering based upon an earlier pencil sketch (see above).


Existing Road into New Village (illustration by author, the back of the existing General Store is located to the right in the image along with the preserved mature tree)

This image captures the view towards the top of the hill along this existing street, by terminating the vista with the spire from the new church (anchoring a new public plaza).


View Down Back Street into the New Village Square (illustration by author)

The image above depicts the view down the upper street, looking into the public plaza with the obelisque fountain.

axo - final011

Birdseye Axonometric Rendering of New Village (illustration by author)

The image shows the entire new village at full build-out. Note the inclusion of a new village public plaza anchored by a new church (and obelisque fountain), the preserved Dry Creek General Store (with a new, small, adjacent motor-lodge), two private internal open-air plazas for residents, and the inclusion of allotment gardens for community members.



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