the peculiar machine

fall 2018

Serving local communities, this winery harnesses the many forms of water in its relationship to the processes and flows that surround it. The site’s unique topography and microclimates within the bowl region offer ample opportunity to capture runoff and seasonal fog. The fog - most prominent at dusk and dawn - flows in from the West. This prominence of fog is aided by the wind that arrives from the same cardinal direction.

The project begins with the establishment of a peculiar machine. You may ask, “what makes it so peculiar?” Planometrically, the elliptical fog catcher provides upwards of 3500 square meters of fog harvesting surface, with the capacity to generate approximately 17,800 L of potable water per year. The form of this fog catcher is derived from the form of the landscape’s bowl-like topography.


It organizes the site in a single geometry, assisted by a wooden circulatory boardwalk, which links the elements of the cooking stations and the winery itself. Arroyos from the surrounding slopes intersect this geometry, offering the potential for additional water for on-site processing.

The peculiar machine aims to advance the exploration of woven steel rebar elements that can be constructed on-site with local labor. The rebar structure is lightweight and flexible, meaning its surface can be dynamically curved to transform from a vertical harvesting surface to a horizontal shading roof or canopy. A series of rebar column cages define the interior and exterior spaces of the winery, creating semi-enclosed zones of program.

The project also seeks a position that is both critical and still optimistic for this arid climate and the future conditions of drought in the Valle. If the modern machine is known for the consumption of resources, then this machine will harvest fog and strive for self-sufficiency. It will be completely silent, light, and offer transformable spaces. If the modern machine is complex and mechanical, this machine will be simple to construct with recycled materials, but powerful in its architectural ramifications. If the modern machine stands “hidden” outside the discipline of architecture, this machine will be integrated with the user and their experiences of space. It is visible and translucent, a lightweight skin that transforms the ephemeral into potable water and offers an identity for the collection of local Baja culture, wine-making, and cuisine.