Architect Belém Lima created wine-making facility and visitors centre overlooking the vineyards of the world famous Douro region in Northern Portugal. The project for Alves de Sousa estate is cladded in black bricks and rises on a slope surrounded by dark vegetation and hillsides with terrace-cultivation.
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“The Black cellar hides itself like a bottle” says Belém Lima to ArchiPanic. On a side the architecture is projected towards the surrounding territory in a discreet dark suit that merges into the landscape, on the other it showcases the art of wine-making with a “play of transparencies showing the logic that everything is supplemented with precision”, adds the architect [+ VIDEO].
A road snaking through the vineyards leads to the building. Two intersecting volumes parallel to topography and with uneven floors separate the production areas from the visitors centre, offices and employers’ facilities.
The wine-making section is divided in two floors. At level 1 h (8m/9.6m) a stainless steel vats-bay leads to wooden casks that do their cumbersome work in the shadows below ground. The level above (h4.8m) hosts the lab, winepress, bottling and other semi-finished production facilities.
On the North East, a higher and strait volume is mostly dedicated to clients and the public that can access directly from the road at level 3. Here, a visitors’ entrance and a wine shop welcome guests. At level 4 a wine tasting room offers a view on the surrouding landscape from a large window. Above a terrace grants a 360° panorama over the valleys.
Level 2 is dedicated to the administration offices, changing rooms and the staff canteen are located on ground floor.
Cladded in black Klinker brick, the building merges dicreetly into the surrounding landscape. The exterior wall is a ventilated façade type with natural insulation (mineral wool), with passive performance in the cooling season. In the glazed frames double glazed windows are used with thermal performance.
“The wine cellar incites local economy and wine tourism, always regardful with the landscaping, adding construction tradition allying formal and material innovation” comment Belém Lima.
Photos by Fernando Guerra and Sérgio Guerra @ Ultimasreportagens.com.