Château Pichon Longueville-Baron
Commissioned by the Centre Georges Pompidou of Paris in 1988
In the spring of 1988, the Chateau Pichon-Longueville gave us the impression of an incongruous collection of buildings containing some interesting architectural elements. First of all, of course, there was the vast central building, the chateau built in 1851 in neo-Renaissance style, which serves as a residence; on its immediate surroundings were various remarcable buildings: the neo-classical façade of an 18th-century orangery, a beautiful monumental well shaped as a Doric column, a 19th-century building and, finally, the southern façade of the chais and cuviers. We therefore decided to retain these fragments to enhance the sense of history but also so that they could become the focal point of a new architectural redeployment.
Our proposal is organised following two main perpendicular axes: one starts at the residence and goes towards the river (east to west); the other runs north to south and connects the terroir of the vineyard and the château (parallel to the road). Our composition is organized around these two lines which are intended to make the old and new buildings into a coherent unit that is both rational and theatrical.
Between the street and the château we propose a new esplanade divided into two terraces. The first as a semi-circular belvedere overlooking the castle. From this viewpoint the second square or terrace can be seen, here water falls into a large pond at the foot of the château, which is reflected in it. To the left (south) of this space - which has been designed for theatre performances - are the public reception areas and an underground museum of architecture lit by large parallel skylights. The line of the latter is broken to accommodate the large tiers of an open-air theatre, whose steps allow visitors easy access from the vineyard towards the lowered central square.
To the right (north) of this esplanade all the new functional buildings are arranged. In the centre of the structure is the rectangular cuvier, with the repetitive curves of outer walls suggesting the roundness of precious vats of wine. The square buildings of the chai and the storerooms are placed tangent to the cuvier. This three-pole construction is organized around a service courtyard behind.
Along the central esplanade on each side of the cuvier, there is a small 19th-century building which has been completely reconverted into a tasting room and a shop, and also a new building for receiving guests.