Chateau Lynch-Bages History Timeline
1860 – 1975
The historic Lynch-Bages cellar designed by Pierre Skawinski was in use through to 1975, the date at which it produced its last vintage.
Designed according to a gravity principle, innovative for its time, the old vat house has been included in the new building. It has been given pride of place to show that Lynch-Bages continues to draw inspiration from the spirit and principles of 19th century builders, even now, more than 150 years after its construction.
1975 – 1989
The client adapted the buildings to modern oenological needs. The work took place from 1976 to 1989. Changes were made progressively. Steel and then large stainless-steel vats gradually replaced the wooden vats, and new cooling followed by temperature-controlled systems appeared. In 1989, Lynch-Bages hosted the traditional Fête de la Fleur dinner and inaugurated the new cellars, transformed for the occasion into a spaceship of Jules Verne inspiration.
1989 – 2016
Techniques and technologies continued to develop, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. From 2006, Jean-Charles Cazes began substantive work in collaboration with Daniel LLose and Nicolas Labenne to improve his knowledge of the Lynch-Bages vineyards. A decisive step was taken with the emergence of precision viticulture. We used satellite mapping tools to precisely analyse each parcel’s potential and determine the characteristic features of each terroir. The client subsequently restructured the vine parcels, reorganising the 90 existing parcels into 200 sub-parcels. In 2006, the technical team began drawing up specifications to design a new cellar taking on board viticultural developments. We began discussing the project with architects in 2009, envisaging various configurations for each stage of the winemaking process. We recorded our choices in an exhaustive technical document, finalised over a period of several years.
Renovation work began at the estate in late 2016, after the harvest. Demolition work began in February 2017. Once the ground was cleared, diggers began work on a square pit over 10 metres deep to accommodate the new building. It was completed in time to harvest the 2020 vintage, the first to be born in our new cellars.
Chateau Lynch-Bages is located in Pauillac, in the Bordeaux region of France; its origins date back to 1749. The winery’s old vat-house still intact represents a rare example of the gravity flow winemaking design now used in modern vat-houses invented by Pierre Skawinski in 1850. Chateau Lynch-Bages has been under the Cazes family’s ownership since 1938.
The winery was recently redesigned as a new and dramatic 150,700 ft2 estate at the Chateau’s historical location.
The complex consists in three interconnected volumes: a large glass enclosure of the vat room that is flooded by natural light from an industrial-inspired saw tooth roof, a stone cladded rectangular volume, and an all-glass volume for the office wing. Additionally, there is a below grade barrel cellar that matches the footprint of the vat room.
The multi-use building now houses the vinification operations, the wine barrel cellar, office space and the reception and tasting area. It is embedded in an ensemble of existing buildings that form a picturesque French winemaker village.
The vinification operation areas are fully naturally ventilated and lighten; only the wine barrel cellar, the white making room and the FML room are strictly temperature controlled.
The winery harvest reception and main dock accommodates the equipment of three grape reception lines during harvest and equipment during the bottling of wine. A large translucent door, with its sliding mechanism, opens up the full length of the dock and when close allows for natural light to the space. A glassed-enclosed laboratory connects this reception area to the new vat room offering 360° view over the winery operation facility.
The vat room houses 80 tanks. The isothermal vats have a “double skin” and integrated temperature control system. Each tank is equipped with a pump with helicoidal impeller which is ideal for gently transferring liquids with solid particles (seeds, skins, etc.).
Six 100 hectoliter elevator-mounted tanks serves the “gravity” system of the winemaking operations between the vat room and barrel cellar. These equipments bring flexibility and precision to the whole winemaking process and the bottling of the wine.
The barrel cellar is located below ground level. The hygrometry and temperature control systems are located in the ceiling hidden by a stainless-steel mesh vault.
The barrel cellar can accommodate two harvests. The barrels are stacked up to two levels which facilitates barrel work tasks, and enables safer and more efficient operations. As in the vat room, the work in the barrel cellar is done by gravity. Barrels are filled by pipelines and the wine is brought up to the vat room by the elevator-mounted tanks. Racking is performed from one barrel to another, and no pumping is necessary during the entire maturation period. As in the vat room, light plays an important role with carefully LED lighting design and by the natural light coming from the glass-enclosed elevator-tanks core.
The vat room’s effective anti-UV glass and the protective screen of metal mesh on the south side keep its interior naturally cool without air-conditioning, even in the summer. The roof can accommodate solar panels in order to have an energy self-sufficient building in the future.
The new complex unites formerly separate processes of wine making under one roof. That calls for harmonization of different requirements with regards to functionality and design. This modern approach, formerly unheard of in the traditional wine making area of Bordeaux surely created huge challenges for the design and architectural teams.
This open approach brings the wine loving clientele much closer to the product, creating an immersive brand experience. By working with transparency, light and open space, patrons can see the wine cellar and the related operations.
The Office wing a glass and metal volume is in the north end of the building. A large wire metal screen at the west facade to control the sun light and provides privacy for the offices. The two-story building’s open office layout and the private offices have open views to the surroundings. The two office floors are connected by a circular glass enclosure that houses a circular grand staircase; both office levels have direct access to winery facility levels.
The top floor of the office wing has a full floor roof top terrace and a terrace in the second level with open views to the surrounding vineyards and the town of Pauillac.
The complex horizontal circulation is completely open. There are multiple staircases throughout the building: stairs in the east and west sides of the vat room; two staircases inside the elevator-mounted core for the tanks and two monumental glass enclosure with circular staircases at the north and south ends of the complex.
The stone façade consists of German vein cut cream colored Jura Limestone and a contrasting base board of Zimbabwe black granite. The cream-colored Limestone’s veining creates a fl owing effect which is even accentuated by fluted pieces of the same above and at the sides of the winery harvest reception and main dock entrance.
The weight and dimension of the limestone stone pieces made it a very delicate job when it came to cutting, handling, crating, and setting the stone.
The design of the complex also includes green areas and parking. The program called for maintaining the main entrance of the winery to the north designed with an organized garden where a London Plane tree was preserved; additional land was acquired to the south creating the opportunity to equally provide a designed open space with a row of trees and open views. The outdoors production activities of the winery are located to the west of the complex with parking arranged within organized green areas.
Nine years from planning to groundbreaking resulted in something truly unprecedented and special place.
6a. Table: air frame 3001 stool,ixc edition
8a. table : air frame 3001 stool,ixc edition
4a. Table: air frame 3001 stool,ixc edition
Jean-Charles Cazes: “Didi Pei has had ties with my family for years. He met my father for the first time in 1985 while working with his own father (Ieoh Ming Pei) on the Louvre Pyramid project in Paris. I like the idea of handing down through generations, contributing to both his history and our own. He shares our philosophy of embracing the outside world, he has a dual culture and an excellent understanding of our country. He’s also wine enthusiast, and therefore understands the technical and functional challenges such a project raises for our estate.”
“Another reason why we chose Didi Pei is because we’re great fans of his sleek architectural style, with its contemporary lines and perfectly sober form.”
The New York-based fi rm PEI Partnership Architects has been overseeing the project in collaboration with the Bordeaux-based BPM agency headed by Arnaud Boulain. In addition, Rossana M. Gutiérrez Principal-in-Charge at PEI Partnership and Project Director for the Lynch-Bages winery, had a key role in client-architect communication as well as planning, designing and working with the associate architect, Atelier BPM, and all other consultants.
“As of 2009, our team set to work to define the technical options for the project. Then, over a period of four years, the two architects and our team of technical experts studied the general principles of the project in order to produce detailed working drawings. The very fact of choosing the Pei firm meant the building would be resolutely modern in style.
Demolition of the existing buildings began in February 2017. The bulldozers went to town. Once the ground was cleared, diggers began work on an enormous square pit over 10 metres deep to accommodate the new building.”
Throughout this construction period, there was a clear commitment to using local professionals: “70% of the companies contributing to the work are based in the Médoc or Gironde and more than 80% in southwest France.”
|14,000 m² / 150,700 ft²
|White wine cellar
|Harvest reception hall
|Barrel cellar height
|Under mezzanine height
|39 above ground, 2 below ground
|Above mezzanine height
|Winery length north/south
|Winery length including office
|Atelier D’architecture BPM
|George Sexton Associates
|MEP & Structure
|Verdi E Engenierie
|Winery Production Systems
|Neveux Rouyer Paysagistest
|GM Qualite, France