Freemark Abbey, Stone Building Renovation

Category: Work
St. Helena, CA

Originally constructed in 1886, Freemark Abbey Winery has undergone several modifications over the last 130 years.  During that time, the building has uniquely served its original purpose as a winery production facility as well as a multitude of other uses.

When purchased by Jackson Family Wines in 2006, a vision was revealed that would celebrate the history of the structure while bringing it into the modern era. San Francisco based architect, SB Architects, developed a strategy to bring the beauty of the hand-hewn stone walls to the forefront while tailoring the design to support a vibrant program and meet current code requirements. Among the major project goals to repurpose the building for public access was the addition of an elevator, service stair, grand staircase, reconstructed accessible floor levels, and topped off with large skylights integral with custom arched steel trusses to support the majority of the reframed roof structure.

A structural steel framing system was woven within the confines of the multi-level structure to satisfy structural demands while also supplementing the architect’s vision.  Specific design and detail was attributed to the steel trusses demonstrating a more feminine shape.  For areas where the existing archaic stone wall construction was not able to be justified, the significant seismic retrofit included steel braced frames.  Stabilizing the thirteen foot tall stone basement retaining walls presented yet another challenge. The strategic use of soil nail shotcrete walls encapsulated the failed stone construction and eliminated the need for costly shoring and large foundations which also would have impacted a significant portion of intersecting stone walls.

Coined by SB Architects as the “rebirth” of the historic stone building, the $15M retrofit and alteration project is now home to a new highly acclaimed restaurant and provides Freemark Abbey with an iconic hospitality and events center located in the heart of Napa Valley at one of the original gravity fed stone winery locations.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of SB Architects

Size 24,000 sf
Completed 2016
Construction Cost $15M
Architect SB Architects
Contractor Wright Contracting, Inc.
Excellence in Structural Engineering - Forensic/Renovation/Retrofit/Rehabilitation Structures <$20M

National Council of Structural Engineers Association (NCSEA), 2017

Outstanding Seismic Retrofit Project

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), San Francisco Section, 2017