Arquitectura Viva
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Rafael Moneo, Descendientes J. Palacios Winery in Corullón (León)

The Descendientes J. Palacios Winery was located in the town of Villafranca del Bierzo. Its facilities were spread in different structures and warehouses, so it became necessary to reconfigure and gather them all in one building. The desire to blend with the rural context where the winery was born, the respect for the environment (recovering local grape varieties and traditional production techniques), as well as the roots and commitment – even social – with the municipalities of Villafranca and Corullón, were key factors in the choice of site for the new winery.

The project design is based on two prior conditions set by the owners, both enologists: to use gravity flow as much as possible in the winemaking process, and to let the wine repose 20 meters below ground. The winery’s layout had to be designed with these two premises in mind. This led to the fragmentation of the volumes and their connection through a system of courtyards and paths that would mark the start of the winemaking process up high to end at the dispatch area in one of the courtyards.

The winery is thus structured in three volumes that settle soundly on the terrain and allow recognizing the different winemaking stages. The upper volume is where the wine is produced, from grape collection and selection to bottling; the lower volume is for agricultural work; and between them, overseeing both the production of wine, its dispatch, and work on the vineyards, an intermediate volume houses the management areas. The winery is organized around three courtyards that service these volumes at the different levels: harvest courtyard, social courtyard, dispatch courtyard.

The site’s contours allow arranging the volumes and courtyards at different heights, using gravity and the terrain’s thermal inertia. for winemaking, which minimizes movements and energy use.

The winery is conceived as a series of stone volumes where massiveness prevails over the openings, cut out of the facade at specific points to emphasize the views. To blend the volumes into the landscape, a cyclopean concrete plinth anchors the building to the terrain and the site. The volumes that emerge from this base are built out of white reinforced concrete, with timber and aluminum exterior frames. The roofs are designed in a different way: the production warehouse is a green roof, extending the mountain on which it rests; and zinc roofs top the freestanding volumes.

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