La Bodega Winery in Palamos, Spain

La Bodega Winery in Palamos, Spain

By Charlotte West
Designed by Spanish architects RCR Arquitectes, La Bodega is a winery situated on a private vineyard near the coastal town of Palamos. The architecture strikes a balance between the artificial and the natural, existing within a man-made valley cut into the Catalan landscape.

RCR's work is characterized by an exploration of the boundaries between man-made architecture and natural landscapes. Using materials such as steel and glass, they play with light and shadows, a theme that reappears throughout the winery's architecture.

The roofline of the winery structure is defined by a sequence of parallel steel blades.

"La Bodega is a singular work, although it expresses itself with some of (our) essential values...: a strong relation with the location, a careful path, the space and the light, the use of natural materials," says architect  Vialta, who founded RCR together with partners Rafael Aranda and Carme Pigem.

The main building is reached via a descending artificial valley that leads into a small production area and an underground maze of wine cellars.

The winery itself houses wine production facilities, a cellar and an underground amphitheater. The structure slopes down through the artificial valley and descends to a production area that subsequently leads to underground cellarswhere wine tastings and other events are held. Vialta says the starting point for La Bodega was "to capture the essence of the world of the wine inside the soil, underground, and making one feel intense experiences with it."

Rocks and earth are visible between the steel blades as visitors walk down the path. In the dark lower areas of the structure, daylight creeps in through cracks between earth and steel.

Visitors to La Bodega also have the opportunity to spend the night in one of six rooms in a traditional Catalan guest house on the estate. The bedrooms are furnished with antiques from the personal collection of estate owner Kurt Engelhorn. Also nearby is a historic chapel, Hermita de Santa Maria de Bell-Lloc.

A view from the interior of the winery reflects RCR's architectural philosophy of creating buildings in reaction to existing features of the landscape, revealing new dimensions to the topography of the site.

In the words of RCR architects, the underground amphitheater invites reflection "in the deep grounds of the structure of shadows."

RCR was inspired by the steel sculptures of Richard Serra, and by the layers of space and vegetation found in traditional Japanese Zen gardens.

The physical structure is integrated into the natural landscape, and is oriented toward a view of a permaculture vineyard. All wine and produce served to visitors is grown on the estate.

Overnight visitors to La Bodega stay at an old house located on the estate. Although the exact date it was built is unknown, the residence is an example of traditional Catalan architecture.

La Bodega has six guest bedrooms furnished with pieces from the owner's personal antique collection.


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