From Stone House to Stone Winery

Carl Fredrik Svenstedt’s studio returns to work with stone.

Having already taken an International Stone Architecture Award in 2013 – the historic recognition organised within the scope of Marmomac – for Stone House built in France in 2011, the Carl Fredrik Svenstedt Studio turned once again to stone for the recently completed Les Domaines Ott in Château de Selle wine cellar in the heart of Provence. Here, architecture is firmly rooted in the surrounding landscape and – thanks to the use of stone – seeks timeless assonance with the geological memory of the site, utterly in keeping with the mineral heritage of local wines.

Architecture and landscape

The wine cellar and visitor centre stand on a site set among the vineyards overlooking the historic Chateau de Selle, near the Cistercian abbey of Thoronet. Two stone walls rise parallel to the access road and the terraced vines; one of them is slightly curved, as if following the movement of the passing vehicles. The longitudinal ground plan of the wine cellar extends between these walls and is partly below ground level to ensure optimal thermal inertia for wine-making. The linear sequence of spaces follows wine-making processes from start to finish and is also facilitated by the natural downwards slope; visitors already enjoy an overall view of the entire process from the esplanade in the access area and looking out over the facilities with barrels and steel tanks.

Stone and facades

Built using blocks of Pierre du Gard, a beige limestone quarried in France, the facades are simultaneously solid yet permeable at the points where they are perforated, revealing views of the landscape while equally ensuring necessary ventilation of visitor and production facilities. Precision blocks measuring one metre by one metre fifty centimetres and weighing exactly one tonne are placed on top of each other up to a maximum height of ten metres. The vibrant texture of the overlapping blocks, that are somewhat scaled in relation to each other, defines the graphic composition of these facades, enhanced by chiaroscuro effects exalted by the play of solids and voids. .

Natural evolution

There are evident affinities with the previous project by Carl Fredrik Svenstedt for the Stone House, starting from the use of the same stone, which in turn highlights a construction tradition rooted in this region since Roman times that began with the aqueduct-bridge that gives Pierre du Pont du Gard its name. Svenstedt, a Swedish architect who has settled in Paris after an international education, follows up the contemporary use of this stone in other wine cellars built earlier in the south of France by Gilles Perraudin at the end of the 1990s. The use of natural stone in the Domaines Ott wine cellar continues this combination of the senses between the tactile aspects of the stone – visitors can related to the human scale of the blocks that are close enough to be touched – and the wine-tasting experience.


Client: Les Domaines Ott
Project: Carl Fredrik Svenstedt Architect
Collaborators: Tae in Kim, Camille Jacoulet, Thomas Carpentier and Clément Niau
Structures: Beccamel Mallard, Ingénérie 84
Landscape architects: Christophe Ponceau, Mélanie Drevet
Completion: 2017
Images: Hervé Abbadie, Dan Glasser



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