Nicolas Ruinart Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto
Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has designed the ‘Nicolas Ruinart Pavilion’, a new visitor center for Ruinart, the oldest champagne house in Reims, France. The modern building of 1,400 sq.m. characterized by natural stone and woodand is clothed in gradient glass facade on top of a convex roof. The new project is located in a site steeped in history and is placed in relation to the pre-existing historic buildings to combine tradition and modernity. Cultural spaces are created between the new and old structures, including an artist garden that serves as a haven for biodiversity and creative expression, while offering a variety of champagne-related experiences.
the pavilion is clad in a gradient glass facade topped by a curved roof | all images courtesy of Sou Fujimoto
Drawing inspiration from champagne bubbles
At the heart of the site, Sou Fujimoto’s pavilion (find out more here) will house the new reception area of Maison Ruinart. The building is characterized by brightness, simplicity and modernity and has been conceived as a contemporary vision that contrasts and reflects the adjacent historic buildings. The architect and his Parisian team designed a shape inspired by the Ruinart bottle and the curve of a champagne bubble.
Built from natural limestone from a regional quarry, the pavilion pays homage to the chalk pits of Reims, which were used as quarries. The entrance emphasizes the contrast between a dark, narrow area – the connecting paths between the chalk pits – and a wide opening into a vast, light-filled space. The visitor enters a wide open plateau with a sweeping view of the grounds, main courtyard and historic buildings. In this bright, open space, it is easy to move between the different areas of experience, from the lounges to the champagne bar and the shop to the terrace.
“This bright, light and transparent building is designed to welcome visitors like a jewel box. It embodies Maison Ruinart, as an heir to ancient history – represented by the white limestone of the building’s frame – and as an innovative vision, such as the slender, raised shape of the roof.” Sou Fujimoto shares.
focusing on ecological responsibility
The Nicolas Ruinart Pavilion is located on a site of 7,000 sq.m., including 5,000 sq.m. protected forest, which has been completely redesigned. From the road, visitors can walk along a tree-lined path that features mineral elements reminiscent of chalks deep underground. Designed by landscape architect Christophe Gautrand (find out more here), the location is an artistic experience in itself and opens a dialogue between the 19th century facades and the modernity of the pavilion, creating a link between the underground world of the chalks and the bright white stone walls. The visitor can move freely and discover nature in all its diversity: wooded areas, vineyards and vegetable gardens. Each plant has been carefully selected to anticipate climate change and promote biodiversity.
Following an ecologically responsible approach, the simple structure is made of natural materials – stone for the walls and wood for the frame – carefully selected in the area. Insulation is made from organically grown materials, a green roof cools the building, screen-printed glazing absorbs the sun’s rays, geothermal energy regulates the temperature and rainwater is collected. Located in the middle of the wooded area, this building is more refined than imposing. White facades play with light and are affected by subtle changes in the natural environment during the day, seasons and weather.
name: Nicolas Ruinart Pavilion
architect: Sou Fujimoto | @sou_fujimoto
location: Reims, France
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