Upcycled Architecture at Baja’s Wine School “La Escuelita”

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Wine bottles add color, light and texture.

Rusting box springs. Barrel staves. Used irrigation hoses and broken wine bottles. What sounds like items in a junk yard, have been transformed into design elements at La Escuelita, Baja’s celebrated wine incubator in the Valle de Guadalupe.

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Rusting box springs create the facade.

The school is the passion project of winemaker Hugo D’Acosta who has been instrumental in developing the Valle de Guadalupe as a wine hub in Baja. His brother, architect Alejandro D’Acosta, designed the school. In an article for the LA Times, Barbara Thornburg describes the architect’s style:

“D’Acosta, like Don Quixote on his quest, conjures other visions. Buildings on the property have been fashioned from the trash: a classroom made of colorful palos, discarded pieces of wood from construction sites; a wine storage facility composed of used bottles; and an open-air building framed in rusted box springs.

Then there’s the front of the school, clad in discarded filters used in the pressing of olive oil. Nearby, old irrigation hoses woven into a fence resemble a latticework of squiggly, charcoal snakes. At the rear of the property, another artful fence consists of dead grapevines.”

The school officially launched in 2004 when the two main buildings were purchased. Since then, it has continued to grow attracting wine makers and wine enthusiasts from across Mexico and the United States.

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An on-site cafe serves incredible iced coffee.

Tomas Egly is the director of the wine program at La Escuelita. In the interview below he talks to Evan Kleiman about the architecture and the wine program.

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A fence made of used irrigation hoses.
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Box springs allow light to filter in.
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Two by fours create shade but allow a breeze to flow through the space.

All photos courtesy of Oana Marian.