V2S Architectes : Chai Troglodyte

At the foot of the Alpilles (13), on a classified natural site, the vineyards in the middle of a wilderness invite to contemplation. To encourage it, the winery of Château de Romanin put on the discretion, locked between the rocky hills. Light on the renovation work of V2S architecture, which has kept the minimal footprint of this 1980 building.

Erected twenty years ago by the architect and oenologist Serge Hennemann on the site of an old feudal castle, the cellars settled on what he considers a "high-place", a site subject to currents telluric and other natural forces. The rich and fertile soil, on which the troglodyte structure organized in a colonnade takes place, echoes the sacred traces of origin, which are the result of precise measurements (cubits of 0,5236 meters), which the architect wanted to honor. It is on this construction that is grafted the enlightened intervention of the architects of V2S.


The building of 2 300 square meters is almost completely buried, leaving only a small emergence to signal its presence. The renovation and extension of the winery carried out by the Toulouse agency V2S architecture tends to preserve the colonnades and templates of the original architecture, to inscribe its exterior in the topographic lines of the site, thanks in particular to a roof that takes the shape of the ground The enlargement is thought to integrate a sober and elegant modernity to the original construction. Architects study the materiality and format of the winery so that it fits harmoniously into its environment.

The designers modulate the heights of the façade and their materials in order to adapt them to the different functions of the ensemble. From clear concrete - to echo the hills - to the opaque protective metal, to the translucent walls of the workrooms, the facade marries all the components of the site and the original frame. The exterior surfaces turn into walls to accompany the stairs and paths of the site with elegance.

The interior is also designed to enhance the existing. The opaque textured concrete combined with the polished and reflective stainless steel offers different facets, sometimes sealed to keep the wine spaces intact, other times open, thus bathing the work rooms with natural light. Without ever neglecting the primary function of the work, the designers of the extension gage on the renewal of the architecture. The biodynamic vinification processes are thus adapted to the development of the château to offer wines from different grape varieties.

A delightful intervention in an intact envelope; enough to appreciate all the subtleties of the wine of the castle.

To learn more, visit the site of V2S Architects

Photographs: Sylvain Mille

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