Architecture

Foster + Partners-designed winery will blend into French landscape

Foster + Partners-designed win...
Le Dôme is designed to blend into the beautiful French landscape and will be part-buried
Le Dôme is designed to blend into the beautiful French landscape and will be part-buried
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Le Dôme will be located in a picturesque area near Bordeaux
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Le Dôme will be located in a picturesque area near Bordeaux
Le Dôme will incorporate rammed earth building techniques, which involves compressing damp earth to create a sustainable alternative to concrete
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Le Dôme will incorporate rammed earth building techniques, which involves compressing damp earth to create a sustainable alternative to concrete
Le Dôme will be topped by an impressive timber roof that features an oculus at its center
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Le Dôme will be topped by an impressive timber roof that features an oculus at its center
Le Dôme is designed to blend into the beautiful French landscape and will be part-buried
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Le Dôme is designed to blend into the beautiful French landscape and will be part-buried

Following the completion of its cube-like Apple Store redesign, British firm Foster + Partners has now unveiled plans for a new winery in Saint-Émilion, France. The building will be partially constructed using sustainable building techniques and is designed to blend into the landscape.

Designed for a winemaker of the same name, Le Dôme will, assuming all goes as planned, be located in a picturesque area near Bordeaux and surrounded by vineyards.

It will be constructed using rammed earth. This ancient method involves compressing wet earth into a sustainable building material analogous to concrete, though not as strong (concrete will be used too). The whole thing will be crowned by an impressive timber roof.

"The 40 m [131 ft] diameter timber roof is a unique reciprocal structure consisting of mutually supporting sloping beams that spans over large column-free space," explains Foster + Partners. "The structure naturally creates a 6-m [19.6-ft]-wide oculus at its center, which allows daylight to flood the gallery spaces. The roof is clad with local terracotta tiles, while the base of the building – made with rammed earth and concrete – is partially buried into the ground to reduce its visual impact on the terrain. The building reinforces the landscape by creating a hill-like form that echoes the gentle slopes that surround it."

Le Dôme will be topped by an impressive timber roof that features an oculus at its center
Le Dôme will be topped by an impressive timber roof that features an oculus at its center

Le Dôme's interior will include a large ramp that allows visitors to stroll along and view different stages of the winemaking process, much like Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' Macallan Distillery. This will eventually lead to the uppermost level, which will provide 360-degree views of the landscape and host wine tasting tables, a bar, and entertainment areas. A circular atrium will allow people to view the wine being produced and stored below.

"The views and the landscape have always been the primary protagonists of the design," says founder and executive chairman Norman Foster. "The process of winemaking is taken to the heart of the building and the upper level provides a flexible area for people to gather and taste the wonderful wine of the terroir. The direct visual connection between the inside and outside, wine tasting and production, creates a unique and unified space for Le Dôme."

We've no word yet on an estimated date of completion for Le Dôme.

Source: Foster + Partners

1 comment
Nelson Hyde Chick
I wonder what year will climate change make it impossible to grow grapes at the location of this winery?