Bodegas Chateau Pichon Longueville
In 1987 the historic former residence and vineyards of the Barons of Pichon- Longueville, established in 1851 on the main route between Bordeaux and Pauillac, was acquired by a subsidiary of the insurance giant AXA, at which time the well known winemaker and owner of neighbouring Chateau Lynch Bages, Mr. Jean Michel Cazes, was brought on board to restore the second growth vintage to the highest levels of quality for which it had formerly been known for over 200 years. Confronted with an outdated and outmoded infrastructure, Cazes determined that the first major investment that the new owners would have to undertake would be the complete transformation of the winery facilities, in accordance with state of the art technical requirements and a growing awareness that the architecture of wineries should be as significant as that of the châteaux.
A year later Cazes met Mr. Jean Dethier, at that time the director of the Center for Industrial Creation (Centre de Création Industrielle- CCI) at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, who was preparing a vast exhibition entitled “Chateaux Bordeaux”, which would explore the historical aspects of the architecture and planning of the great chateaux of the region. Cazes, Dethier and the owner of AXA Millésimes, Mr. Claude Bébéar, quickly agreed that the exhibition could be the perfect occasion to organize a competition to design the new facilities, and invited three firms to prepare proposals for a new winery that would have a 2,000 barrel cellar (1,300m2), 30 fermentation tanks (750m2), bottle storage (1,300m2), a harvest reception area and administrative offices (600m2), a visitors reception facility (1,200m2) and garages (800m2).
This, the winning project, was designed by architects Patrick Dillon and Jean de Gastines- partners at the time in Paris based Architectes Associés. The project establishes an esplanade between the Chateau and the Route des Chateaux, with the different functions of the winery and visitor center located to either side. A centrally located reflecting pool is intended to evoke the relation of the Chateau to the distant Gironde River while serving as a mediating landscape element in which both new and old architecture are reflected.
Traditional architecture in the Bordeaux landscape often includes landmark objects such as towers, obelisks and crosses which mark the boundaries of different vineyards, paths, roads, wells, gathering places and the like. Our proposal appropriates the language of this anonymous architecture and that of the Chateau in order to assure its historic and physical predominance within the landscape and its new industrial context.