The area surrounding Cité du Vin is a living, welcoming, environmentally-friendly space.
The transition between public space and Cité du Vin is a gentle one. There is a natural passage from urban, mineral space where car, cycle and tram traffic circulates to a planted area in which the building nestles.
A landscape gardener’s task is to listen to, perceive and explore the human and spatial dimensions of a site. A landscape concept is built around a site’s identity, its lines, its strengths and weaknesses, its ecology, and its social and environmental context.
For the Cité du Vin landscape concept, various criteria naturally guided the project towards a wild garden: its location within a ‘Natura 2000’ zone, architecture firm XTU’s idea of integrating the building into a homogenous whole, and the inspiration stemming from vine cultivation’s wild origins. The building was thus incorporated into the environment specific to the Garonne as a way of giving the river its landscape back. This resulted in the reconstruction of ‘a waterfront ecosystem to refresh the building’s immediate environment’. This native garden thus symbolises the landscape associated with the Garonne more than wine symbolism.
Walks and strolls
The garden is split into four sections:
- The front square: the stark contrast arising from the passage from nature to culture, wild to constructed, outside to inside is symbolised by the wild vines climbing the building’s facade
- The ditch (natural drainage collecting and guiding rainwater) and embankment path
- The large central grassland and its ‘scenic windows’ onto the opposite bank of the Garonne
- The central courtyard and high-trained plants, an ancient method of vine cultivation
The visitors path is characterised by the use of ground materials which contrast with the plant environment: a wooden footbridge indicates the two entrances on the city and river sides, and an exposed concrete slab path follows the curve of the building, inviting visitors to head back to the banks of the Garonne. With a ditch running alongside, it continues to the spiral ramp heading up 10 metres, designed only to provide rescue services with easy access to upper floors, and which runs around the entire building and highlights the entrance area.
The entire southern facade is enlivened by terraces of Cité du Vin’s commercial spaces. These can be accessed from both the reception area and the garden, allowing walkers, tourists, and also locals and people working in the district to make easy use of this privileged setting. Benches in the wild garden offer visitors an opportunity to rest.
Pontoon along the river
The history of Bordeaux and its wine is closely linked to the river. Cité du Vin’s iconic, strategic location next to the Garonne further strengthens its interaction with the city centre and wine regions thanks to a 90-metre pontoon secured to the river bank beside the building. Included in the 2013 blueprint for Bordeaux river life, it is designed to provide an additional boost to various methods of navigating the river. It allows pleasure boaters to tie up closer to Cité du Vin, as well as establishing water shuttles to enable visitors to travel to vineyards along the river. It is the ninth project implemented by the City of Bordeaux in the Port de la Lune since the 2000s, and encourages a gentle, environmentally-friendly, historic mode of transport allowing the creation of combined land/water tourist routes.