Participants were tasked with proposing designs for a hotel extension to the Quinta do Monte d’Oiro vineyard complex. To us, a Quinta do Monte d’Oiro wine is a wine that respects and captures the full expression of its terroir – the same values form the basis of our proposal.
In fully analyzing the terroir, Jose Bento dos Santos saw outstanding similarities with Rhone in France. Wind, soil composition, Mediterranean and Atlantic winds traveling 20 km an hour, and low temperatures, were some of the multiple factors to play an important role into the decision to plant specific European varieties, prominently Syrah and Viogner. By producing low-yield grapes and switching to organic methods in 2006, the terroir and its wine gained further acclaim and each parcel a unique and unrepeatable flavor.
Monte d’Oiro wine is a palpable experience that captures the unique taste of the terroir; our architectural proposal aspires to capture the same, a unique-to-place engagement with the earth. It is crucial to the built environment to be set in a clear intertwined relationship with the ground, wherein the user is immersed in the same terroir that brings complexity to the wine: visually by placing the viewer in different positions vis-a-vis the land, and sensorially by using the natural light, ventilation, and the thermal mass of the different depths of earth to provide a sustainable structure maximizing the experience of the land’s richness.
From above this is not a building, but a series of reveals and interventions that unveil characteristics of the terroir, which go from the land itself to the preceding built history – the ruin. Architectural elements rise from the topography, expressing these characteristics in their materials, like the rammed earth walls featured throughout the project. Together, they heighten the experience of the land and the wine of Quinta do Monte D’Oiro.