Architect: Nadau Lavergne Architects
Location: St Christophe Des bardes, Gironde, France
Structural Engineer: Etude Béton, Trarieux
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Audren
Project Area: 1050 sqm
Photographs: Philippe Caumes
The Chateau Barde-Haut is a 17 hectare domain located in Saint-Emilion,France. Registered in 1999 on the UNESCO world heritage, the jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion is a remarkable example of a historic wine landscape which survived intact. In 2005, Nadau Lavergne Architects rehabilitated a former winery in a building made of traditional stone. Sought again in 2008 for a project of a bigger scale. The existing site is characteristic of the from the Gironde wine landscape: an island of stone low houses of the 19th century, contain offices and the other dependences, appear from rows of vineyards. In the North of this island gets loose a rangy volume: the wine storehouse.
The project takes advantage of this architectural context which makes the identity of the country. Nadau Lavergne Architects would have certainly been able to work a rather linear architectural coherence, to answer the justifiable expectations of a landscape the timeless face of which is security of a tradition. Nevertheless, the identity of a country is not dependent on an architectural gesture which would contend with reproducing the characteristics of the existing. In a time when the business of the wine becomes international, where the French production competes with foreign wines, the wine country of Saint-Emilion remains a strong entity, both for the beauty of its landscapes and for the brilliance of its naming. The production of the wine is a multimillennium tradition; this secularity hires it in an era today which was able to frighten the profession. Of new requirements in term of fermentation and wine making, the expectations of warned customers, a necessary export, so many signs of the inescapable modernization of the viniculture. How to reconcile from then on the identity of an ground, its exception and its stamp and the technical innovations?
The choice of contemporary architecture answers this visible contradiction. Two volumes rise on the existing site: on one hand workshops, the configuration of which in length allows to structure the entire space of the site and to redesign the roads; on the other hand cuviers and reception hall, which skip in the hollow of the space left by stony buildings. Both get dressed of sheets of rusty steel, the aspect of which metamorphoses according to climates; the volumes hurry of nuances pastels, ochre and sienna. The choice of this material was imperative(led) with a certain evidence: the strength of the place required architecture in the asserted minimalism, the architectural presence which did not think in term of competition or rivalry, but dynamics. The existing wine storehouse and the workshops had been dug to mitigate the leveling of the ground. A dynamic contact of the architectures.
Noting the configuration of the built, and quite particularly this space between the wine storehouse and the very dense set towards, the project thus comes to fit partly into the stony case; the welcoming volume cuviers and reception hall skips between the traditional buildings, the witnesses of a secular memory. Its facade is aligns itself with the line of built existing (wine storehouse and diverse dependences); it marries the length of the wine storehouse to present on the West a facade which fits on the width of the building. So by overlaying this volume in the pronounced lines, as cut from the corten steel, from the stony heart, Nadau Lavergne Architects wished to open up the architectures. This unexpected closeness of a contemporary building and one built traditional, their contact, create an interesting dynamics. An interaction which authorizes a new story; The identity of every sequence is as raised by the unusual presence of the other architectural temporality. An attention on the temporality being inspired by the alchemy which shapes the character of a wine, a mouthful of which lets guess the spring rains, the burning sun of August, the wooded accents of the oak. The architectural lines of the project borrow their simplicity and their dynamics from wefts of the rows) of vineyards. The cover of rusty steel which dresses both buildings creates a visual coherence and declines the colors of the country. However a strong identity characterizes each of them.
Canadian wells were dug along the line of built formed by the wine storehouse, the volume contains cuviers and reception hall, and the existing stony buildings. They allow to reduce the thermal amplitudes for the internal spaces of the wine storehouse and the cuvier. Hot air pumps, settled in studios(workshops), distribute the air(sight) chill and regulate the process. Buildings(ships) are isolated around for an optimal thermal slowness. The végétalisée roof which covers workshops has three different functions it favors the insertion of the contemporary volume in the site; it contributes its slowness by strengthening the insulation; she allows finally to filter rainwater, which are got back. Wine-producing waters are handled, managed towards a water-treatment plant. A wind turbine fixed to the roof of workshops enlightens the outside.
A volume dug in the ground
Workshops, directed east-west, consist of 4 sequences indicated by the play of the roof, the division of which in visible accordion in facade revisits the industrial architecture of the 1950s. Inside, the first three sequences communicate between them (from north to south: workshop(studio), premises and cloakrooms(changing rooms), shelter material two high doors of panels of steel lacquered on rails open in the East. The last sequence is a huge room for vintagers, whose inside gets dressed of wood.
A wide plate glass window totally opens the space on a wooden terrace; it cuts a panoramic centering on the valley of Saint-Emilion. Half-buried in the North to mitigate the leveling of the ground, the whole building presents a favorable thermal slowness, to which contributes the presence of a vegetalized roof. In the North, a wind turbine fixed to a hurt metallic structure allows to feed all the outside lighting. It indicates the presence of the building which seems to go out gradually of the ground. The vegetalized roof plays with the singular topography of the ground, by creating the illusion of a building dug in the ground.