Wine Culture Center.
Architectural Concept for YAC Competition 2014, Young Architect Competition.
The architectural transformation of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar which is presented herewith aims at enhancing and crowning all the design details related to tradition, wine making techniques and people expertise, who have made the Veneto region one of the most acknowledged emblems of Italian oenology.
The idea behind the project is to focus the awareness and the curiosity of consumers towards the outdoor area and the vineyards, involving them and entertaining them through some multifunctional spaces where wine, the actual leading character of the show, is disclosed in all of its forms and the ancient manufacturing cycle, from the grape stalk to bottle, is eventually shown to captivate the visitors/spectators.
The key place where all the activities are carried out is the “drying room for grapes” (the so called “fruttaio”), where the first phase of fermentation takes place, conceived as a symbolic and evocative area.
The fruttaio becomes now a patio, where all the baskets full of grape stalks are kept for some time after the harvest, part of which will become one of the four main products of Cantina Negrar.
Being the vibrant heart of the Cantina and the starting point of every wine cellar, the fruttaio is thought to be exploited all year round, as a place where to house concerts, exhibitions and all sort of cultural events. The centrality and the importance of the fruttaio throughout the whole exhibition itinerary, is underlined on the façade by the fragmentation of the filtering membrane that wraps the building all around, which may be seen as a symbol of this territory.
Volumes and internal spaces seem suspended, one facing the other, supported by retaining structures shaped in a natural way, that makes one think of trees. The fruttaio again represents the highest expression of this architectonical theme; here the doubled floored room has been emptied and the whole structure is transformed and conceived as symbolic ecosystem, a microcosm where grapes and wine are the essential nourishment.
The morphological variety of the old building is completed by the new prismatic and multi-material system for coating the former surfaces. This covering layer recall an organic structure, whose fragmentation and transparency breaks up the sturdiness of the building and sneaks inside the inner spaces and their activities.
The old cantina arrayed the rooms and spaces, as for tradition and experience, in a way that is thought be the most effective and productive for wine making and farming purpose. Inside the new building as it has been thought, spaces are arranged and organized in order to exploit the potential of the current structure without modifying the old succession of functionalities inside the cellar and ideally to increase interaction between them.
Every section communicates with each other coherently, helping visitors to discover this factory/museum/oenology centre, through tidy and well-connected spaces. The Cantina is situated in a land of great wines and fine food culture, where tradition is still a guide line for all the agricultural and handicraft activities nad it has been equipped with educational areas that pays particular attention at transferring all this cultural heritage to the guests.
That is why the spaces are committed to be instructive and didactic about the winery and local agriculture in general and they are thought as a path for the visitor to follow around the fruttaio which invites them to discover and embrace the everyday life of old and new wine making process. Big glass walls overlooking the vineyards and the surrounding fields are meant to emphasize the link between the ground and its products.
The itinerary is ending at the northern section of the Cantina structure, where the educational/experimental activities are arranged, together with the restaurant. Here the experience culminates with a direct interaction (through tastings and small laboratories) with the product of real land farming and vineyard which is what the Cantina is all about and the best means of the museum itinerary for leaving passers fascinated.
Visitors, joining for actual interest or just passing by, will stroll into this architectural forest, who holds the secret of wine genesis/making .