Architecture Underground

The wine tourism has a new icon in Tuscany: Antinori Winery is hidden underground, beneath the land of its vineyards.

The wine tourism has a new icon in Tuscany: Antinori Winery is hidden underground, beneath the land of its vineyards.

001 antinori-winery-002

Hi, I irradiate on this terrible day the bitter conviction that the human being has been wrong of century, the terrible feeling of having visited a place strangely wasted and the omen that will not be the last time that this happens. But my disappointment, obviously, only going by sections, my practical and generous sense of the life makes me see beyond of inadequate concepts and allows me to find more positive realities. Insurance that today, many readers will be in disagreement with my version of the facts, I face them here with a singular work, for me, away from the architecture: the Antinori Winery.

002 metalocus_bodegas_antinori_03_1200 Pietro Savorelli

Inexplicably, the winery of the century-old Italian family Antinori, whose presence in the wine world noted for more than 20 generations, sneaked into the Mies Van Der Rohe prize list, less evil in the end returned the sanity and not received the award. Because… would agree Mies with this election? It looks like this new building (whose construction was finished in the year 2012) not resembles what he called architecture. Of course, perhaps the problem is that this European Prize should take another name, or other sensitivity (which would say the technicians), but better I calm a bit before continuing…

003 metalocus_antinori_winery_01_1280 Pietro Savorelli

I, Rodolfo, was there recently, the curious building is submerged in the hills of Chianti, between Florence and Siena, for many people, the best region of the Tuscany (with permission of Florence). Marchesi Antinori was the promoter that invited to the Studio Archea Associati for to design and to create this complex. In particular, the new Winery is located in Bargino (San Casciano Val di Pesa) and covers 130,000 square meters of surface (or 13 hectares), within which they have built 49,000 square metres whose volume is 287.260 cubic metres.

004 metalocus_bodegas_antinori_01_1200 Pietro Savorelli

Despite of the huge area of action, the leaders sought that the visual impact was as low as possible, so that they dug the spine of a mountain, introduced the construction inside, and then returned to fill the exposed parts for plant vineyards… even on the cover! Isn’t it a crazy? Obviously the goal was to mimic the building with the rural landscape (achieved), as the light and the air were essential for the subsistence of the interior (and their mental well-being) have had to leave two strips horizontal shaped facade, giving a respite to the visitors… and to the operator of the company.

005 metalocus_bodegas_antinori_02_1200 Pietro Savorelli

Completing the interaction with the outside have been distributed, in different areas, circular openings that give oxygen and light to the offices and to the exhibition areas, and, incidentally, also serve as lookout on the wineries and wine-making areas. In the most hidden area is hides the winery, which produces the wine maturation, with this can be controlled the conditions of temperature and light it need the precious drink. This store has been designed with an exquisite intentionality, give to the barrels of wine the place that deserve, so have done a parallelepiped compartment with concrete (a huge room) and then have formed, with steel beams, sinuous vaults covered with terracotta (I like, I do not deny it).

006 012_auditorium Antinori

The structural design was provided by Aei Progetti, they told us that the complex consists of seven autonomous buildings, which had to excavate up to 20 meters of deep, that the piles (pillars introduced on the ground when this is not able to withstand the load of the building) have up to 18 meters long and that (were especially communicative) the total cost of the structure was 29.5 million euros over the 65 million of total cost, in other words, the structure cost 45 percent of the budget.

007 ARCHEA_CANTINA_ANTINORI_009_PS Pietro Savorelli

The engineering was for Hydea and Emex, the construction for Inso and the elements of terracotta for Sannini Impruneta. As it is usual in wine tourism, the buildings are not built just for the wine and its production, also running for the enjoyment of the tourists. In this building, the visitors enter on the basement, view the winery and climbed through the areas of production, press rooms, laboratories, until reach the restaurant, Auditorium, library, Museum, and (most importantly) the areas of tasting and purchase of products. Finished this tour they are only a surface plant, offices and areas administrative are located on it, apart are the guest house and the house of the caretaker.


As you know, I don’t like to waste the time, I don’t know if it’s gold or not, but for me at least it is oak. I say this because what motivated my visit to the famous Winery were two materials: one, the oak, lining the auditorium for 200 people. Available in vertical planks gives a greater feeling of altitude, raising the roof with some elegance. Its light brown colour flood of peace in our mind, we are surrounded by a tree whose efficiency is proven and is the greater of its weapons. The oak is of the Fagaceas family, grows up to 40 meters, its trunk reaches between one and two meters in diameter and can live to be 200 years (although some widely exceed this number).


In the wine sector has been (and is) used as a place of storage (barrel) of the liquid, giving tone and flavour, although at this point the best is that you ask him to Rocío, you know, the winemaker expert of The Luxonomist. For me the most important thing is its hardness and workability: is the perfect wood for construction, very appreciated in the naval for its resistance to penetration of water, also is in carpentry, joinery and building since its size is rectilinear (high trees) and this maximize the use of the material. By its condition of tree spread all over the globe, it is easy to find with some 450 species, is no excuse not to use it.


Other material that extends throughout the property (and I have annotated for my future building), is the corten steel, in particular fascinated me the helical staircase with eccentric shaft, which connects the four floors of the building and that, through of circular openings, going by varying the location of your shaft and the size of its diameter (I liked, I do not deny it). The corten steel is made up of a mixture of chromium, nickel and copper (with other items in smaller quantities), whose peculiarity is that, to oxidize, creates a crust that protects its interior, giving it a longer life to the steel without protect it with other elements.


It is weldable (of course) and has an orange hue that darkens over time, the weather accelerates the process, this curious colour (along with its durability) has become this steel in favorite for the designers. We must be careful during the oxidation, which can take between 12 and 18 months, because during this period the steel particles are dragged and stain and ruin the surfaces where is placed (we all thought in a sculpture that has stained the rocks or concrete in its base).


My conclusion is that the materials are not always related to the architecture, for me, make a hidden building is very close to the anti-arquitecture, although its interior functionality is splendid, its structure is a gift to the engineering and its stores are perfectly isolated. The architecture is an expression of art, and as such, should be reflected in the sight of everyone, the Mona Lisa under a cloth? Sacrilege! Mies Van Der Rohe was not an architect, and has not prevented that his legacy be explore in all the schools of architecture in the world. Bye bye.

A house on top of another house, this on top of another house … the usual, let’s go!

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