Old Wine in New Buildings
Also part of the new wing of the Enate Winery is an executive presentation area for Enate corporate functions, private parties, and professional conferences, located adjacent to the gallery space, the wine tasting rooms, and the new bottling complex. It offers a unique opportunity for visitors to conduct meetings surrounded by the picturesque vineyard landscape.
Enate's strong relationship with the arts finds expression throughout the winery, and especially in the public reception areas. In the entry hall, a mural depicting the rolling fields of vineyards dominates an open space, marked architecturally by combinations of light, wood, and stone.
In the lobby area, Manzanares achieves a balance between sharp lines of modern composition and the softening effect of daylighting.
Stone and Light
The basic construction materials of the building are brick, steel, and concrete. But the architect's skillful orchestration of light throughout the winery moderates these "hard" materials, and ultimately alters their fundamental presence. In the process, Manzanares consciously blurs the boundary between exterior and interior, wood and steel, function and art.
The architect finds a constant source of inspiration in the particular quality of light found in Mediterranean countries, "For me," Manzanares says, "Mediterranean light is the most incredible in the whole world, and expressing this remains the all-consuming passion of my work."
He based the decision to adopt a linear, rather than curved architectural language on considerations of light. Manzanares elaborates: "I wanted to let as much light as possible into the interiors, and large expanses of rectangular glass simply offer more surface area than the curved arcades associated with the Romanesque tradition of Spanish wineries."
The architect interprets light as a metaphor for life itself and an essential element in the cultivation of the raw materials for wine production, the grape varietals.
Manzanares integrates light into every circulation route. Glazed elevators provide arresting views of the surrounding landscape, as do reception areas, hallways, and stairwells. The choreography of the project keeps visitors always connected with the immediate natural context.
Light in the Cellar
Special attention was given to the design of areas which, due to the delicate nature of the fermentation and aging processes, must be protected from natural light. Manzanares says, "For me, it's the spaces that are closed off from daylighting that are emblematic of this project because they represent my greatest creative challenge."
Specifically he refers to the fermentation cellar, which houses the wine barrels. Here, he faced the challenge of simulating natural light through metaphors of design.
In the cellar, Manzanares creates drama through monumental architectonic volumes that highlight the warm tones of the oak barrels contained within them. He contrasts the round, fecund shape of the barrels with the angular lines of the gallery space.
In the cellar, Manzanares applies indirect electric lighting that mimics the effect of daylight. The result is an approximation of the animate, vital force of daylighting in a completely sheltered, unglazed area.
Wine Making in the Landscape
The architect creates drama in the building's exterior elevation by accentuating the horizontal orientation of the building, blending the structure into the surrounding landscape. By emphasizing the horizontal plane, Manzanares reflects the calm bucolic atmosphere of the vineyards.
Manzanares makes reference to the balance between periods of activity (or fermentation) and rest (or aging) in the complex wine-making process. "I tried to create a sense of calm throughout the composition that expresses an important facet of wine cultivation and production," he comments.
Some might see the Enate Winery as a contemporary interpretation of the Romanesque style of classic European wineries. The exterior elevation of the cellar mimics the rounded arcades characteristic of medieval monasteries. The viewing tower can be seen as an interpretation of the campanile structure found in Romanesque churches.
Whatever his references, Manzanares has achieved a design reflecting Enate's philosophy of using modern technology to build on the ancient traditions of wine production.
Rachel Grossman writes about travel, fine arts, architecture, and interior design from Madrid, Spain. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard in Russian Literature and a graduate degree from the Courtauld Institute in Modern Art History.