Le Dôme winery, Saint-Émilion

Construction of a singular new structure for producing and ageing wine, with visitor reception and tasting areas, in one of Bordeaux’s most renowned wine regions.

The circular-plan building is completely open to the surrounding countryside and divided into two levels. Partially buried to minimise visual impact on the terrain, the lower level will be dedicated to winemaking and consists of a central tank room embraced by two rooms for barrels separated by vintage. This floor, which maintains constant temperature and humidity levels, also houses the technical rooms and employee service areas. The upper level contains an office space, with eight workstations and a conference room, and a social area for tastings, as well as a service module with kitchen and toilets. A combination of ramps, one internal and the other external, guides visitors through the winery, while a central atrium visually links the production and tasting areas.

The structure relies on three main materials: concrete, metal and wood. A large, semi-buried shell of reinforced concrete rests on a foundation that floats like a ship on the terroir’s clay-rich soil. A metal structure is sitting on this foundation slab. The rolled steel profiles support the upper level with a composite slab.

The concrete walls support the 10 large wooden porticoes of the roof, an architectural element in itself, whose spherical cap shape is a nod to the winery’s name: the dome. The reciprocal geometry of the oak beams makes it possible to achieve a 30-metre span without intermediate supporting elements, creating a diaphanous space with a large 6-metre-wide oculus in the centre that allows daylight to flood the winery and provides natural ventilation, also serving as a smoke vent in case of fire.

The roof is clad with local tiles retrieved from the tool shed that was torn down to build the new winery, a necessary condition for integrating it in this setting, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural landscape in 1999.