Winery in Corbières, Southern France

by Valentin Ebel from HTWG Konstanz University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Germany
Tutored by: Prof. Eberhard Schlag

Author comments:

The project provides a winery in the area of Corbières Boutenac in Southern France. Authenticity and a strong connection to the surrounding landscape build the main themes of the design. Aside an adequate presentation of wine making and its consumption, the self-image, the challenging attitude on quality and the high-standing values of the wine growers shall find their counterpart in architecture.

After months of growing in the vineyards the ripe grapes are picked and brought to the collection point, where the building takes up the landscape. A wide roof shelters the selection of the grapes. From here on, the arrangement of the different production steps on different stages enables the transportation of grapes and young wine only through gravity. This gentle way of transportation ensures that the wine doesn´t has to be pumped at any moment during the production cycle. This is a precondition for an original and natural high quality wine.

Storage and maturing of the wine find their place in the cellar level, where the surrounding earth keeps tanks, barrels and bottles constantly cool and dark. The wine literally flows back to its origin, where it finds the completion.
Visitors approach from the east. Coming from this side, the building is hard to define in dimension. The long and straight roof appears as a floating sculpture over the vineyards. A long and slight ramp builds a steady transition. Borders between outside and inside are eliminated.

Tutor comments:

The winery is designed as a sequence of massive, transparent and open spaces, which create a diverse and exciting composition. Openings in the building connect inside and outside with each other, giving structure and rhythm and work as separating and connecting areas at the same time. Following the needs of every single function, each part of the building shows its own character, but still is united under a strong roof, which gives a unique identity to the architecture.

The linearity of the surrounding vineyards gets an equivalent in the architectural space. The work with excerpts, the reduction and the framing, the interaction between mass and void, the play between curiosity, discover and surprise reinterprets the sense of space of a vineyard and translates it into an appealing architectural design.

The close binding to the location is strengthened by the careful choice of materials. Local natural-stone and wood let the architecture become part of the habitat. Long walls tie down the highly functional building in the vineyard like roots. The project impressively succeeds in interlacing architecture and landscape.

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