August 3, 2011
Chateau Cheval Blanc’s architectural marvel
The Chateau Cheval Blanc in Saint-Emilion, France, is legendary for two reasons – for the globally recognised and celebrated wine it produces year round and for its stunning architectural design.
Designed by the Pritzker Prize winning architect, Christian de Portzamparc, the elegant structure, which sweeps across the vineyard, houses the wine production facilities like it was as natural as the vines themselves.
The Chateau Cheval Blanc, which is French for “Castle White Horse”, dates back to the 1830s and is situated in the ancient and picturesque town of Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO world heritage site.
Working within these parameters, Portzamparc, and the winery’s owners, Baron Albert Frere and Bernard Arnault, wanted to create a sculpture that blended into the landscape. The designer describes his building as a “winery under the hill”, as it is a structure that is roofed by landscaping which descends into the estate.
Maintaining the high-quality wine the Chateau Cheval Blanc has become world-renowned for, functionality, as well as blending into the landscape, was at the heart of the new wineries design.
To facilitate natural ventilation to help the wine breath, the winery’s walls are made from mashrabiya. Other natural materials were chosen to construct the unique winery building, and as a consequence, is one of the few wineries in the world to have a High Environment Quality certification.
With its modern curves sweeping over the vines it is rampantly accepted in the world of design that the Moroccan-born French architect, whose studio represents a cohesive team of some of the world’s finest designers and architects, has created an harmonious and inspiring addition to one of the most revered wineries in the world even by the most finicky of wine connoisseurs, and one that takes the wine producing industry straight into the 21st century.