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Norman Foster commissioned to revamp Chateau Margaux cellars

Lord Norman Foster has designed new cellars for Bordeaux's Chateau Margaux.

Lord Norman Foster, architect of the Reichstag in Berlin and Millau Viaduct in France, is to create new cellars for 1855 1st Growth Chateau Margaux.

Lord Foster will create an underground bottle library for past vintages, and a new vinification cellar that will allow both the red and white wines to be made in the same part of the estate for the first time since the late 1970s.

British-born Foster, a winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize Laureate, is perhaps the best-known architect to date to take on a Bordeaux winery.

Earlier projects include Jean Nouvel‘s new winery at Chateau La Dominique in Saint Emilion and Christian de Portzamparc’s celebrated new cellars at Chateau Cheval Blanc.

‘Nothing has been altered at Chateau Margaux since the original building was created in 1810 by Louis Combes, one of the most celebrated architects of his time, ‘ director Paul Pontallier told Decanter.com. ‘To add something new is a
serious undertaking, and we absolutely had to respect its importance by working with the most talented architect of our time.

‘Outside, the building will be in complete harmony with the 19th century chateau, but inside it will be resolutely modern.’

Plans for the Foster project have been in the initial stages for 18 months, but have been slow to progress because Chateau Margaux is a listed building and a national monument, meaning the new designs must harmonise with the existing structure. Planning permission was granted in September, and works will be carried out by both Foster and Bordeaux architect Guy Tropres.

Alongside the cellar and bottle library, the existing outhouses will be turned into reception rooms for visitors. The current cooperage will become a tasting room, with the barrel workshop itself moving across the courtyard, back to its original position in the 1800s.

Work is expected to begin in April 2013.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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