Foster + Partners Completes Circular Le Dôme Winery In The Rolling Hills Of Bordeaux
Named Le Dôme Winery, the circular building is nestled in the rolling hills of Bordeaux, the new winery in Saint-Émilion has welcomed its first visitors this month.
Foster + Partners' project is conceived as a low-lying building to be blended seamlessly with the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape of the region with a state-of-the-art facility for the internationally renowned wine, Le Dôme.
The architectural language of the building create a circular structure that simultaneously provides an indoor and outdoor relationship, while the structure providing an efficient space for wine production and engaging in dialogue with the surrounding landscape.
Foster + Partners revealed first renderings in 2019 and the project was completed in 2021.
"When Jonathan Maltus first approached us, he expressed a desire to create a distinctive new winery, set against the unique backdrop of St Emilion," said Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners.
"He wanted the building to be a celebration of the beautiful site, focussing on the views of the vineyard and making the landscape the primary protagonist in the design."
"The idea was to blend the building with its surroundings while creating a welcoming space for visitors and wine enthusiasts."
Visitors access the winery along a tree-lined avenue, when they come the end of the avenue, a circular-plan building welcomes visitors.
The building features a combination of two ramps; one external to emphasise the relationship with the site and the other internal, allowing the visitor to walk through the different stages of the wine process. The ramps also give the new building its spatial definition.
Both ramps lead visitors up to a gallery on the upper level, this gallery also forms the social heart of the building with tasting tables, an elegant wine bar and entertainment spaces. On this level, visitors can enjoy with 360-degree views of the adjoining vineyards.
"When I first met Norman Foster in Madrid we spoke for over an hour and a half about what we required out of the project," said Jonathan Maltus, owner of Le Dome.
"Norman’s energy and personal interest shone when he, there and then, sketched the basic design of the building that has manifested itself so brilliantly in real life. What we see now, and it gives us so much pride, comes directly off the page that he drew in his notebook in front of me," Maltus added.
The architectural and industrial design teams at Foster + Partners worked closely from the outset to create an interior design solution that is an integral part of the architecture.
On the upper level, the team designed a curved wine bar looking out onto the vineyards alongside circular tables which form the tasting area to the left.
A circular atrium, making the heart of the building, allows people to look down onto the wine production and storage spaces below, providing a holistic and unique experience for visitors.
To the right of the entrance, the studio added discrete office pods helping create space for focussed work within a busy environment.
The timber screens wrap around the desk spaces to allow for acoustic and visual privacy while preserving sightlines to the outside and blending in with the architecture, with the lines in the ceiling reflected in the timber screens.
The 40-metre diameter timber roof, becoming the protagonist of design, is envisioned as a unique reciprocal structure consisting of mutually supporting sloping beams that spans over large column-free space.
Creating a 6-metre-wide oculus at its centre, the oculus allows daylight to flood the upper level.
The roof is clad with recycled local terracotta tiles, while the base of the building – made with concrete using aggregate from the region – is covered with timber slats and partially buried into the ground to reduce its visual impact on the terrain and increase thermal mass performance.
The building to reinforces the landscape by creating a hill-like form that echoes the gentle slopes that surround it.
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Project name: Le Dome Winery
Architects: Foster + Partners
Location: Bordeaux, France
Foster + Partners team: Norman Foster, Nigel Dancey, Roger Ridsdill Smith, Pablo Urango Lillo, Taba Rasti, Jaime Valle, Miguel García Jiménez, Cesidio García del Río, Rupert Inman, Jeng Neo.
Foster + Partners Industrial Design: Mike Holland, Stefan Bench
Client: SCE Chateau Teyssier
Collaborating Architect: A3A Architects
Main Contractor: Empty & Bau
Structural Engineer: EUTECA
Mechanical Engineers: Secath
Cost Consultant: Empty & Bau
Structural Timber: Simonin
All images © Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
All drawings © Foster + Partners
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