La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux

La-Cite-du-Vin

This building does not resemble any recognizable shape because it is an evocation of the soul of wine between the river and the city. A strong architectural statement, La Cité du Vin stands out with its bold curves and shape. An iconic building, this golden frame hosts a Cité within the city, a living space with experiences to discover.

The initial aim of the building’s architecture was genuinely to create a link between La Cité du Vin and the spaces surrounding it through perpetual movement. Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, the architects from XTU, designed a space shaped by symbols of identity: gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass, eddies on the Garonne.
Every detail of the architecture evokes wine’s soul and liquid nature: ‘seamless roundness, intangible and sensual’ (XTU Architects). This roundness transcribed in the building’s exterior can also be felt in its indoor spaces, materials and scale. La Cité du Vin dazzles with a golden shimmer reminiscent of the light stone found on Bordeaux facades. Its own facade is made up of silk-screen printed glass panels and perforated, iridescent, lacquered aluminium panels. Changing with the sunshine or the time of day, the building dialogues with the river through its reflections: there are very close parallels with a wine’s constantly changing appearance. This very distinctive shape causes you to look at the river running past from a different perspective. The building’s two entrances on either side create an impression of movement, ebb and flow between inside and outside.

One entrance faces the city and the other faces the river. Higher up, the viewing tower enables visitors to discover the illuminated city and the surrounding land, almost like a watchtower. In the eyes of XTU, the main tour itself follows these flows: wine, the river, the flow of visitors. You pass through the building like a river, with visitors becoming voyagers flowing around the central staircase, perpetuating this impression of movement. This means that visitors are constantly moving as they experience a virtuous circle of discovery. Each person discovers a new world in a fluid, rotating motion leading to an unusual, limitless destination, like a journey through the meanderings of a cultural landscape which feeds the imagination.