The architectural approach for the Cité des Vins in Chablis

The Atelier Correia Architectes & Associés has been selected for this ambitious project.

Based in Saulieu, on the edge of the Morvan hills, Correia has a team of around 10. They have worked on many renovation and extension projects involving old buildings, public structures, and commercial buildings, enabling them to develop recognized expertise.

They are deeply anchored in the rural landscape around where they are located and the team draws inspiration from this environment. It has developed a respect for architectural heritage and puts great importance on using natural, sustainable materials.

“In the beginning, a land laid bare…

“A bottle of wine has a history, a history that begins in a place, a terroir, a precise spot that has fashioned the vine, a biotope that fed the plant, a land where roots go deep down, that has led to a structure, a patchwork of plots, sprinkled with winegrowing villages. These are the Climats, as they are known in the Bourgogne winegrowing region.

“This soil is the foundation for our project, perceived like an icon of this underground, invisible, secret life, hiding beneath our feet.

“‘Terres d’Icaune’, or ‘Lands of the Yonne’ is a revelation. It’s a geological shock, guiding the visitor through this place of sensorial discovery, along a physical, sensitive trail, where all their senses are called into play. Through their body, as they move along the ‘Climats trail’, they will perceive the great mystery of underground life, finally laid bare…”

The ambition of this architectural approach is to establish a link between past, present, and future through historical structures and expressions of a thousand-year-old winegrowing culture to then deploy a contemporary approach with a powerful, expressive style, inspired by the landscape of the Chablis and Grand Auxerrois regions.

An expressive contemporary approach

The project proposed by Correia involves restructuring a listed building dating from the 12th century, namely the cellars of the Petit Pontigny, and to add a contemporary extension designed to fit harmoniously with the older part.

Their strategy is to have this contemporary wing separate from the old building, but together, they will surround a garden for visitors to stroll through.

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Exterior of the future Cité des Vins in Chablis©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

The minimalist form of the extension will connect to the old buildings using similar shapes to those already used on the site. The new façade will be like a contemporary marker that will combine harmoniously with the old.

This new contemporary structure will be enriched by the presence of rammed earth walls that will pay homage to the soil in which the wines of the Yonne grow. The names of these wines will be inscribed on the layers of earth.

Noble building materials

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Colors and materials for the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

The materials used will reflect those used in the world of wine, namely wood, stainless steel and concrete. High quality materials will be used to create a sober, sustainable architecture. These materials are an integral part of the project, on the façade as well as inside the building.

A rammed earth wall will provide a space for communication, a support upon which a story will be written.

The brise-soleils will be made from matte aluminum with a slight color to evoke white Bourgogne wines. This will fit harmoniously with the ochre-colored stone of Le Petit Pontigny.

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Exterior view of the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

A “promenade” building showcasing the vegetable and the mineral

The ground will be dug down a level to create a new, underpinning floor, resulting in a new rhythm and greater volume.

A gallery will evoke the former passages that one finds in the urban fabric of Chablis, linking the esplanade and the lower-ground floor of the Cellier. As such, the visitor experience begins in the entrance to this public exterior, which will be made to create a micro-landscape inspired by rows of vines in a space to animate over the seasons.

This new exterior transversal space will showcase local plant varietals that are adapted to the region and traditionally associated with the vines, inserted between walls, paths, and limestone ravines to evoke the geology of the Chablis region.

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Sketch of the Climats Trail at the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

Visitors are invited to stroll along the “Climats trail”, an innovative educational sloping path that reveals the different strata in the Chablis terroir and provides a place for sensorial discovery.

This exploration of the Yonne, where the further one descends, the more the plants give way to minerals, this will be showcased through tastings and a natural desire to continue the exploration in the vines

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Sketch of the terrace of the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

The project will involve the creation of a terrace above the reception, like a balcony looking down over the rooftops of Chablis over to the great landscape of vines. This space will be available for exclusive private events.

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Floorplan of the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

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The boutique in the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

A modular site that can be adapted to the low season

The design of the space and its access means it can be adapted according to visitor numbers. For example, in the low season, a more intimate feel can be introduced with a winter boutique in the wine-tourism area.

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Reception area of the future Cité des Vins in Chablis ©BIVB/Correia Architectes, Emmanuel Correia

A double reception area

The reception area will be accessible from both sides, making a transversal, filtering space in the contemporary wing. The boutique space in the old building beneath the vaulted ceiling will immerse consumers in the atmosphere of a winegrower’s cellar.

A visitor experience on several levels

The design of the space allows for a range of different visitor experiences to suit everyone, from those who have come specially to those who are just passing through: The full tour including workshops, discovery bar, boutique, garden, trail, stroll, or perhaps just a tasting or a tour of the outside space.