The strategic assumptions of the project were to combine the construction of the production system with all the necessities of a winery, making visible every stage of wine production, while at the same time intimately linking the built structure to the surrounding territory. It needed to have a continual dialogue with the hilly terrain, in the least invasive way possible without seeming timid. The design challenge was to conceive of an advanced, industrial architecture that was polite with regards to its natural surroundings while still retaining its relevant dimensions. The search was for an innovative technological and formal solution, always closely linked to the natural, human and historical environment, so as to avoid the risk of environmental mimicry, or conversesly, to scar a substantially virgin terrain with a self-celebratory gesture or even worse, with intellectual minimalism. The buidling in its typology is clear, however through its articulation it is characterized by a complex language that refers to assimilated and renewed lessons of Frank L. Wright and Alvar Aalto. Complex geometries and extreme structural solutions in fact characterize the unification of separate factory blocks. The treatment of materials identifies the different uses: the first contains the storage of the finished product, the offices and the public spaces for receiving clients and visitors. The central block, the heaviest from a dimensional standpoint is destined to accommodate the various stages of processing grapes, and finally the caretaker’s accommodation. In this sense, the plan is articulated horizontally, but is resolved naturally in section through a system of overlapping layers that take advantage of the topography of the land. It is through the established relationships with the production process, in particular the process of winemaking through gravity, that certain design decisions were developped. The early stages of processing take place in the large square above with access to the cellar. This square is protected by a 17m cantilevered roof which provides a large and aerated place to work, protected form the elements. This area houses various equipment from machines used for the consignment of grapes as well as those used for stemming and crushing operations. The interior space is double volume and extends 5m below the level of the covered square. The must that is obtained from the initial processing is poured in the fermeters from the level of the covered square. The tanks are suspended directly from the trusses that support the roof and are accessible through a system of stainless steel walkways. It is this large and articulated roof structure that is the characterizing architectural element of the building. It was the result of a close collaboration with the engineer Vincenzo Collina, who was entrusted with the research of some innovative structural solutions. The design of the roof, made of aluminium painted copper green, is reminiscent of the hipped roofs of Wrights’ Prairie Houses. Wright often employed the use of generous overhangs and punctuated the roof with skylights. Furthermore, the roof accentuated the horizontality of the whole while giving it unity. The five skylights balance the tension between the horizontality of the roof and emphasise the orientation of the vines. It is not by chance that the cellar is accessible only from the top and then progressively visible from above. It is sunken, carefully laid into the slope and protected by a thin, green leaf. It is only the entrance gate that announces its presence, so that the relationship between the visitor and the building are designed in complete harmony with the surrounding environment. It is only as one enters the cellar, that one can feel how grand the space is and the level of structural and technological research that fundamentally governs the project.
coordination, architectural design (preliminary and final) and construction management