So about a week ago I took part in a one week charette with a bunch of American grad students from Catholic University of America (in DC) studying here in Paris. Basically it was one student from the ESA paired with one American student. It was kind of a campy project and pretty typical of an American study abroad program: a museum of wine. In fact it was their way of kind of kick starting their semester and making up for the fact that they were only then starting studio. After this charette, the American would continue on developing this project as their studio project for the rest of the semester. So already that gives a lot more weight on the design choices of the American over those of their partnered French student.
Anyway I decided to do it because there was money involved and I wanted a good but motivated break from regular school work. It turned out to be in the offices of Atelier Dominique Perrault, which was pretty cool I suppose.
So we had the choice of two sites, one being the Parc Bercy in Paris which actually apparently already have a small demonstration vineyard and the second being the Place de Quinconces in Bordeaux. We ended up choosing the latter, it didn't really make too much difference really. However a strong requirement for our site was to keep the plaza open and occupiable, which we responded to by making just about the whole of our museum below ground which meant unearthing a bunch of ruins of this old chateau that once stood there. So we basically sought ways of intertwining the function of the vineyard, a museum of wine, and the history of the chateau together. All the while we worked to intertwine the experience of being in the past, below the earth, in the museum with that of being in the present, above ground, in the plaza. We did this by exposing many of the ruins to the plaza above which then function as atria as well as running a series of diagonal skylights that changed frequency as related to program.
It was a really quick production, a rough week, but it was probably worth it, I suppose. I did a lot of butting heads with my partner who began telling me how the 20th Century ruined architecture (!?). I suppose this is just a longer way to say also that we, in fact, did not win.