A Striking Winery Takes Shape in the Russian Countryside

Designed by Moscow firm Severin Proekt for new brand Cote Rocheuse, the winery highlights the complex process of winemaking.

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The play between orthogonal and organic forms defines this winery designed for winemaker Cote Rocheuse outside of the Russian city of Krasnodar. Courtesy Severin Proekt and Daniel Annenkov

Tasked with creating an eye-catching design landmark for a new winery in the Russian city of Krasnodar, architect Alexander Balabin and his studio Severin Proekt — which has designed residential complexes, hotels and infrastructure facilities across the country — sought inspiration from the nature of winemaking itself.

“In my imagination, wine has a very passionate, emotional, authentic essence,” Balabin tells Metropolis. “However, the creation process of making wine is a rational, considered, almost mathematical craft. Hard, intensive labor and sweat result in the end product: delightful, inspirational, beautiful liquid in the glass.”

This “duality of the pragmatic and the passionate” is the inspiration for Balabin’s winery building for the new brand Cote Rocheuse, which forms the centerpiece of a 79-acre vineyard that has been planted from scratch.

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Courtesy Severin Proekt and Daniel Annenkov

The structure is formed of two contrasting volumes: a brutalist, square-cut base, housing most of the wine production facilities, and a rounded, overhanging upper volume for the public areas, inspired by beach pebbles found along the nearby Black Sea coast. A hilly site in a seismic zone added to the technical complexity of delivering the project, which took a year and a half to construct, and which was completed in late 2020.

Concrete and large-scale translucent stained-glass windows cover the facade of the lower volume, allowing visitors to witness the production taking place within. Mechanical pumps are foregone, with gravity alone being used to move grape juice in the upper-level tanks down into those in the building’s cellars. The method is intended to improve the fragrance and flavor of the wine — the first batch of which will be released this year — by limiting shaking, bruising and oxidation in the production process.

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Courtesy Severin Proekt and Daniel Annenkov

Architectural concrete is used for the upper part of the structure — housing a restaurant, café, tasting rooms and roof terrace — to create a cobblestone effect. The organic form means that the structure of the winery appears to shapeshift when viewed from different angles, while the material shifts from snow-white to dark gray depending on the light and time of day. Certain visitors arrive by helicopter, and so the design was also tailored to look striking from a bird’s eye view.

“While we used well-known, commonplace materials, I would say that the architecture of this building is extremely innovative and has no precedent in modern Russian industrial architecture,” says Balabin. “The idea was to have a clear, minimalistic aesthetic, which manifests the building’s function rather than concealing it. The design had to be highly precise, implemented surgically. I wanted it to become the face of Cote Rocheuse and part of its brand.”

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