Cité du Vin / XTU Architects

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Bordeaux, France
  • Architect In Charge: Anouk Legendre, Nicolas Desmazières
  • Project Leaders: Mathias Lukacs, Dominique Zentelin
  • Client: City of Bordeaux
  • Owner: Fondation de La Cité du Vin
  • Research Team: Joan Tarragon, Gaëlle Le Borgne, Stefania Maccagan, Cristina Sanchez
  • Partners: Casson Mann ,Scenographer (innovative tool of the permanent tour), SNC-Lavalin ,Engineering, Le Sommer Environnement ,Environmental engineering
  • On Site Team: Delphine Isart, Claire Leroux, Thibault Le Poncin, Joan Tarragon
  • Site: 13 644 m²
  • Budget: 81M€ excluding VAT/ 55M€ (architecture + scenography)
  • Credits: XTU, Delphine Isart, Julien Lanoo, Patrick Tourneboeuf
  • City: Bordeaux
  • Country: France
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© Julien Lanoo
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Plan 0

‘This building does not resemble any recognizable shape because it is an evocation of the soul of wine between the river and the city.’

A strong architectural statement, La Cité du Vin stands out with its bold curves and shape. An iconic building, this golden frame hosts a Cité within the city, a living space with experiences to discover. 

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 24 of 33
© Julien Lanoo

The initial aim of the building’s architecture was genuinely to create a link between La Cité du Vin and the spaces surrounding it through perpetual movement.

Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, the architects from XTU, designed a space shaped by symbols of identity: gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass, eddies on the Garonne. Every detail of the architecture evokes wine’s soul and liquid nature: ‘seamless roundness, intangible and sensual’ (XTU Architects).

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 5 of 33
© Julien Lanoo

This roundness transcribed in the building’s exterior can also be felt in its indoor spaces, materials and scale. La Cité du Vin dazzles with a golden shimmer reminiscent of the light stone found on Bordeaux facades. Its own facade is made up of silk-screen printed glass panels and perforated, iridescent, lacquered aluminium panels.

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 18 of 33
© Patrick Tourneboeuf

Changing with the sunshine or the time of day, the building dialogues with the river through its reflections: there are very close parallels with a wine’s constantly changing appearance. This very distinctive shape causes you to look at the river running past from a different perspective.

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 7 of 33
© Julien Lanoo

The building’s two entrances on either side create an impression of movement, ebb and flow between inside and outside. One entrance faces the city and the other faces the river. Higher up, the viewing tower enables visitors to discover the illuminated city and the surrounding land, almost like a watchtower.

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In the eyes of XTU, the main tour itself follows these flows: wine, the river, the flow of visitors. You pass through the building like a river, with visitors becoming voyagers flowing around the central staircase, perpetuating this impression of movement.

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© Julien Lanoo
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This means that visitors are constantly moving as they experience a virtuous circle of discovery. Each person discovers a new world in a fluid, rotating motion leading to an unusual, limitless destination, like a journey through the meanderings of a cultural landscape which feeds the imagination.
The initial aim was for the building programme to develop in line with the scenography, making the architecture a voyage in itself.

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 4 of 33
© Julien Lanoo

Downstairs is therefore a dark world, like a cellar, with the roots of the vines. The ground floor is raw as an immersion stage diving into the project, a crossing point. The mirror reflections are disorienting and encourage visitors to move upwards towards the light. They feel this light on the courtyard then follow it through the structure until it finally explodes. There is no fixed route to follow, just worlds to discover.

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 6 of 33
© Julien Lanoo

The aim of the experience is genuinely to question rather than let alone. Sometimes the architecture steps back, in other places it reappears.The wooded arch of the permanent tour, the strongest area of La Cité du Vin, is like a varied sky. The sky is everything in winemaking, determining the harvest. This wooden sky rises, undulates and tightens. Once again, this is all about movement.

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 16 of 33
© Julien Lanoo

The wooden structure is reminiscent of a timber frame, of boats, of wine on its travels. It is an immersive break with reality, a world of roundness, fluidity and elevation approximating the wine experience. Visitors are in a discovery mind-set initiated by the architecture, which creates the right conditions for them to discover and complete this immersive, initiatory journey.

Cité du Vin  / XTU Architects - Image 23 of 33

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Project location

Address:Bordeaux, France

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Cité du Vin / XTU Architects" 31 May 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Delphine Isart

法国波尔多葡萄酒博物馆 / XTU Architects

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