The building that hopes to be Bordeaux’s Guggenheim was revealed this week, drawing comparisons from various observers to ‘a decanter’, ‘wine swirling round in a glass’ and a ‘giant thumb’.


The Wine Centre will be designed by Parisian architects, X-Tu, with London scenography company Casson Mann working on the interior. The two companies were selected among 113 candidates, and will now prepare for a build starting in early 2013, with a completion date expected for 2014.

Philippe Massol, director of the project, explained, ‘We selected the most spectacular building, that for us reflects the sensual side of wine, and is in harmony with the river which it will be built alongside. It is also the most environmentally sound, built out of wood and glass, which themselves are materials used in wine. We also felt that this offered the best link between design and function, to have a fully immersive experience between scenography and architecture.’

The 10,000m2 building will have a three-tiered main section and a tower topped by a panoramic viewing platform. The building’s skeleton will be made of wood, covered by two layers of glass, and the upper level covered with photovoltaic panels.

The project now passes for final approval on May 30, where it will get official sign off from the mayor of Bordeaux, and things will move to the technical design phase, with the drawing up of technical plans. Costs are still estimated at €55 million, with 400,000-600,000 paying visitors expected each year.

More photos of the final project: