Chateau Cheval Blanc: a concrete sail lying over the vineyards

Christian de Portzamparc defines the image of one of the major wineries in Bordeaux

by Malcolm Clark
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In the region of Bordeaux, land of fine and expensive wines, which are amongst the world's most famous, Christian de Portzamparc (Pritzker Prize winner in 1994) was commissioned by Baron Albert Frère and Bernard Arnault to design the expansion of the famous home of the French winery Chateau Cheval Blanc.

The French architect has designed a “wine workshop” 5,500 square meters in size and covering two levels: on the first floor there are 52 concrete vats for the ageing of fine wine and a refined tasting room; the basement contains the production environment, where temperatures are kept consistently low.

Cheval Blanc, which opened in June 2011, embodies the new corporate image of the historic wine company, where the extension aims at bridging the ancient and the modern: a huge white concrete sail lying over the vineyards of Saint Emilion, alternating voids with glass and wooden blocks, built with an overall investment of 13 million euros.

The sinuosity of the building defines a sort of artificial hill, which rises from the ground to dialogue with both the landscape and with the adjacent eighteenth century buildings of the existing property.

An intervention also designed according to criteria of sustainability, thanks to the presence of a green terrace on the roof, to the ventilation system designed and to the mechanism of filtering and re-using the rainwater.

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    Chateau Cheval Blanc Winery 235

    Chateau Cheval Blanc Winery

    Saint-Emilion / France / 2011