Architecture firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop unveiled their latest masterpiece: the sunken Château La Coste Art Gallery in Aix-en-Provence, France. The concrete building is submerged almost 20 feet into a valley at the heart of the expansive Château La Coste winery and is topped with modernistic white wings that mimic the rolling movement of the surrounding landscape.
The building, which is over 3,000 square feet, is embedded in the expansive vineyards of the Château La Coste winery. The building’s walls were constructed out of thick raw concrete that contrasts drastically with the ultra-green landscape. The neutral concrete color was also chosen for the interior to serve as a minimalistic background to best display the various works on art on exhibition. Large floor-to-ceiling glass walls are located on either side of the gallery and flood the interior with natural light. Individual wine cellars are set into alcoves around the gallery, fusing the world of art with the world of oenology.
The building, which is submerged almost 20 feet into the vineyard’s valley, is topped with a large white “wing” connected to a series of supportive metal arches underneath. The wing runs the length of the gallery, forming an undulating movement that mimics the rolling hills of vineyards that surround the building. The white color and lightness of the airy sail roof adds a bit of whimsy to the sunken concrete structure.
According to the architects, the unique rooftop design was inspired by the sails of a boat or kite. “The partly buried building highlights the roof covered with a sail fastened to thin metal arches,” said the studio. “These arches echo the graphical layout of the grapevines, enabling to integrate the sail into the vineyard. As a kite, the sail flies and lands, emphasizing all at once the lightness and ‘horizontalness’ of the building.”