Timber pavilion by h2o Architectes stands
like a "guardian" over a French vineyard

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Angular timber volumes emanate from the centre of this wine-tasting pavilion in France by h2o Architectes (+ slideshow).

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

French firm h2o Architectes designed La Cabotte as a tasting pavilion and office for a wine producer in Drôme: a wine making region in south-east France.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

Surrounded by vineyards, the pavilion sits on a hill to take in views of the rolling countryside and looks across to Mont Ventoux on the horizon.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

"The pavilion has been designed to rest among the vines like a guardian angel, observing and demonstrating the surrounding," architect Antoine Santiard told Dezeen.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

A triple-pronged plan branches out in different directions, creating three areas for that accommodate the wine-tasting process, an office, and washrooms for both visitors and the wine growers.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

The architects clad the building in untreated larch wood, sourced from the nearby woodland region of Savoie.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

"Coloured at the beginning, it slowly turns grey with a silver reflection along with the weather, and step by step melts with the surrounding dry stone terrace wall," Santiard explained.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

Raised off the ground on wooden feet, the building adjusts to the sloping site and leaves much of the original terrain untouched.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

"We worked with the existing angle of the site, to allow the visitor centre to float over the vines as a peaceful and serene sheltered space," Santiard said.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

Double-pitched roofs cover each branch of the building, some changing in width along their lengths to meet the angled tops of the walls.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

A large east-facing window offers tasters views of the vineyards where the grapes are picked and a transparent door at the centre of the plan looks straight through the building.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

Inside the pavilion, a bright white interior reflects the natural light and gives the impression that the building is glowing at night.

"The interior design is very simple and bright to reveal the generous space," Santiard continued. "Furniture has also been made from the same larch that clads the exterior, retaining its colour indoors and acting like a time marker."

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

The three spaces stretch out in different directions from a minimally designed entrance hall and hub.

In the wine-tasting room, a timber table looks out across the vineyard while a staggered shelving unit displays the winery's most recent vintages.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

A south-facing bureau sits on one side of the tasting space, while washrooms for the wine growers protrudes in the opposite direction.

h2o Architectes previously designed an office in Paris made from piles of modular blocks and an apartment for a comic book collector with dozens of alcoves set into the walls.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes

Photography is by Julien Attard.

Here's some more project text from h2o Architectes:


La Cabotte, Drôme, France

The unique domaine La Cabotte is located on a hillside surrounded by vineyards and woods looking at the Mont Ventoux appearing on the horizon. The domaine is strongly involved in the respectful terroir farming and wishes to reunite in one same place three functions: a place to welcome visitors with a space dedicated to wine-tasting, an office and washrooms for the wine growers.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes
Area plan - click for larger image

The office decided to take into account two elements to best respond to the above programme : the presence of the landscape and an evocation of the local vernacular architecture.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes
Floor plan - click for larger image

The project is based on a star-plan with three branches, each one corresponding to one of the functions listed above. The structure and the wooden envelope include the furniture elements for the wine-tasting space and the office. This gives a real thickness to the walls and recalls the original constructive principles of the "Cabotte".

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes
East elevation - click for larger image

The unusual plan allows for a central area or core from which the office suggested, thanks to wide openings, a double orientation onto the landscape. These openings frame and dramatise the important elements of the geography, vineyards, Mont Ventoux etc.

The pleasure of the palette is thus associated to the surrounding landscape. From the outside, the volume has a traditional double-sloping roof for each branch of the building. There is a contemporary touch in the play between the line of the roof and the line of the wall which don’t always overlap in the same place.

La Cabotte by h2o Architectes
South elevation - click for larger image

There is a palpable tension between the volumes and the landscape. The Cabotte is simply resting there amongst the vines and the addition of "feet" to two of the three volumes corrects the slight slope of the ground.

Lead architect: h2o Architectes
Quantity surveyor: Cabinet Virtz
Local architect for construction phase assistance: Nicolas Rappez
Surface: SHAB 58 m 2

  • bwd

    The wood slat rain screen is mystifying in its popular success. Looks nice from a distance, if barn like, but up close does it also smell like a barn?

    I fear it would become a rodent/bird/insect metropolis within a year, in typical temperate sites. Especially with slats hung on horizontal battens – do these battens not form tiered granary/nest/toilet facilities for the small animal population?