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Foster completes new winery near Bordeaux

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Foster + Partners has completed this new winery building on the Château Margaux estate near Bordeaux in France

The AJ120 chart-topping practice had previously produced a masterplan for the site which is home to a neo-Palladian villa.

The winery is the first new building on the estate since the original villa and its wine cellars were completed 200 years ago.  

The site’s existing buildings and historic 640m² orangery have also been refurbished as part of the scheme.

The new winery includes a research and development centre, and a 70m-long wine storage ‘vinotheque’ which is located underground beneath the vineyard.

Its roof recreates the region’s vernacular of tiled roofs and is supported by tree-shaped load-bearing columns.  

Norman Foster, said: ‘As a lover of wine there is only one Château Margaux – it is a hallowed label. This design has been inspired by the character of the existing estate, and what Bernard Rudofsky called ‘architecture without architects’ – the vernacular architecture that embraces everything from windmills to bridges, and the wonderful heritage of the ‘big barn’.

The vernacular architecture embraces everything from windmills to bridges

‘I have been fascinated by this anonymous tradition since my student days. At Margaux I was inspired by a communal lunch in the open space under the great roof of one of the structures during the grape harvesting. By investigating ruins elsewhere on the site it was possible to recycle enough tiles to create another major roof in the same vernacular.

‘The new winery is rooted in the technology of today and the best of these traditions – it is “of the place” in both the culture of the local architecture and the industry of wine making. In the overall picture of the Margaux Estate this approach ensures that the original Chateau of 1815 remains the architectural protagonist. At first glance there does not appear to be a new building. This is deliberate and it is only on closer inspection that the new addition is revealed.’

Foster + Partners' Chateau Margaux winery

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