Nestled in the rolling hills of Bordeaux, the new Le Dôme winery in Saint-Émilion aims to blend seamlessly with the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape of the region with a state-of-the-art facility for the internationally renowned wine, Le Dôme. The form of the building is rooted in a desire to create a structure that simultaneously looks both inwards and outwards, providing an efficient space for wine production, while engaging in dialogue with the surrounding landscape.
Visitors approach the winery along a tree-lined avenue, at the end of which is a circular-plan building. A combination of two ramps – one external to emphasise the relationship with the site and the other internal, allowing the visitor to walk through the different stages of the wine process – gives the new building its spatial definition. Both ramps lead up to a gallery on the upper level which forms the social heart of the building with tasting tables, an elegant wine bar and entertainment spaces – all wrapped by 360-degree views of the adjoining vineyards. A circular atrium allows people to look down onto the wine production and storage spaces below, providing a holistic and unique experience for visitors.
The 40-metre diameter timber roof is a unique reciprocal structure consisting of mutually supporting sloping beams that spans over large column-free space. The structure naturally creates a 6-metre-wide oculus at its centre, which allows daylight to flood the upper level. The roof is clad with recycled local terracotta tiles, while the base of the building – made with concrete using aggregate from the region – is covered with timber slats and partially buried into the ground to reduce its visual impact on the terrain and increase thermal mass performance. The building to reinforces the landscape by creating a hill-like form that echoes the gentle slopes that surround it.