How can we fit in with the spirit of the area ?

The former wet docks are so intimately associated with the city’s industrial heritage.

This place belongs to the river. The water is its life force, the power of nature reclaiming these man-made banks. As the broad river winds gently towards its destiny, one of its curves forms a special stronghold: the entrance to the port, the gateway to the city. Such a place needs to be watched over by a benevolent landmark, a guardian angel for the port and the city. A keystone, a vertical icon on this horizontal skyline, a beacon that can be seen far and wide, commanding the banks of the river.

Program:10 levels between the core and the tower, a permanent tour, three tasting areas including 1 multi-sensory immersive space, a reading room , a boutique concept store, 2 restaurants and a panoramic restaurant

Client: City of Bordeaux
Owner: Fondation de La Cité du Vin
Architects: XTU | Nicolas Desmazieres + Anouk Legendre| Project leaders : Mathias Lukacs, Dominique Zentelin
On site team: Joan Tarragon, Delphine Isart, Claire Leroux, Thibault Le Poncin, Research team : Joan Tarragon, Gaëlle Le Borgne, Stefania Maccagan, Cristina Sanchez
Partners: Casson Mann _ Scenographer (innovative tool of the permanent tour) SNC-Lavalin _ Engineering
Le Sommer Environnement _Environmental engineering

Competition: april 2011
Build: septembre 2013 Delivered in may 2016
Surface area: 12 927 m² usable surface included 2 800 m² of permanent exhibition
Site: 13 644 m²
Budget: 81M€ excluding VAT/ 55M€ (architecture + scenography)
Credits: XTU (1), Delphine Isart (2), Julien Lanoo (3), Patrick Tourneboeuf (4)

City Of Wine Maroon France By X-TU Architects - Sheet1
©X-TU Architects

A shape as smooth and rounded as an ancient pebble, weightless lines rolling majestically down towards the water. The essence of fluidity.

This form is clothed in swathes of light, shimmering and fluctuating from purple to gold as the viewer moves.

Ethereal, enigmatic, atmospheric, rising magnificently from the mists of the river. Inspired by the spirit of the place, dedicated to the spirit of wine.‘Timeless’

City Of Wine Maroon France By X-TU Architects - Sheet2
©X-TU Architects

The setting

The visitors arrive at the Forum by climbing the sweeping staircase, curving gently upwards to the exhibition.

At the head of the stairs, visitors will be faced immediately with the exhibition, and will soon realize that the layout is designed to evoke the idea of a ‘whirlwind’ -like the circular movement which awakens a wine before tasting-. Everything the visitors see will reflect this motion – the forms, the light, the images and texts. The exhibition is thus laid out along a circular route: visitors start at the Forum and eventually arrive back there, after a journey through a flowing space with no corners.

The glass walls offer a spectacular view of the river Garonne, flowing serenely around the building. Inside we have recreated this sense of flow, running serenely between obstacles which seem to have been smoothed and rounded by the passing water.

City Of Wine Maroon France By X-TU Architects - Sheet3
©X-TU Architects

Visitors are always conscious of the presence of Bordeaux. Through the windows, the panoramic view reminds visitors where they are: in a city where wine reigns supreme, and which provides the point of departure for a voyage into the world of wine.


Branches of the vine, the flow of wine, fields of vines

Outer skin

Waves on the facade, oscillating lines engraved on the glass, glass cladding, and wooden structure.


Concrete frame

  • 000 m3 of concrete.
  • 000 tons of steel.
  • 000 h hours of work.

Wood frame

  • 000 h hours of execution studies and 1.600 hours en competitive dialogue phase.
  • 17 500 hours of
  • 15 000 hours of
  • 574 arches glued laminated wood all of different shapes (torus).
  • 128 spines glued laminated wood all of different shapes (tower).
  • 950 m3 de glued laminated wood spruce (700 m3) and douglas (250 m3).
  • 000 log purtins and bracings.
  • 000 m² de plywood panels tailored.

Glass facade

2.235 m² of glass decomposed in 3 types : planar glazing, curved glasses and planar glazing with scales.

2.500 pannels of forms and different dimensions whose 90% of plans pannels partially bent cold and 10% bent hot in factory.


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