La Rocca Winery
Renzo Piano

September 07, 2009 /

Gavorrano (Grosseto), Italy

Photo © Michel Denancé

Sited on a hill surrounded by vineyards and woods, La Rocca Winery revisits the traditional forms of Tuscan architecture within a modern, industrially inspired frame.

The scheme consists of an open plaza, a glass pavilion, and a cellar. The building sits on the north side of a large court, an open area looking out over the surrounding landscape and inspired by the tradition of the "Sagrato," a courtyard for public gatherings and festivals. It functions as the roof to the wine cellar below, the real core of the scheme.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Photo © Michel Denancé

Piano decided to put the barrel cellar in the center underground, so that the wine would have the ideal temperature and humidity because, as he said: "What is the heart of a winery, if not the space where the wine improves in the barrel."

The cellar is a vast square underground hall, with a capacity of 2,500 barrels. It resembles an amphitheater with the barrels arranged in rows, descending towards the center, and the tasting area in the middle of the space. An aperture in the roof brings natural light from above, completing the theatrical nature of the cellar.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Photo © Michel Denancé

Together with the production laboratories, disposed on an upper level around it, the cellar creates a sort of massive podium, on which the glass pavilion rests lightly. Its tower is reminiscent of the ancient villages dotting the Tuscan countryside.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Photo © Michel Denancé

The transparency of the glass structure enables the scheme to easily integrate with the surrounding landscape and gives a sense of lightness to the cellar volumes. At the same time the glass expresses a positive tension between the industrial processes of winemaking and its history. Floating above the glass pavilion is a roof stretching out to the north like a flying carpet shaded by a web of vine threads.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Photo © Michel Denancé

Having had a long relationship of working together, which includes Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church in Italy and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, RPBW turned to Capoferri for the lightness and finishes of the facades.

In Capoferri Serramenti, who specializes in custom designed windows and doors for architectural applications, RPBW have found someone who pushes the limits to develop solutions that satisfy their needs.

Photo courtesy Capoferri

Photo courtesy Capoferri

Photo courtesy Capoferri

The profiles are slim, they are thermally broken, and there are no disturbing details, too often present on facades as a compromise to industrial production techniques.

Sketch courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Drawing courtesy Renzo Piano Building WorkshopPlan
Drawing courtesy Renzo Piano Building WorkshopSection

Facts about La Rocca Winery

Total area:

125 ha
Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Design team:

Associate in charge:

Senior Partner:

L.Dal Cerro
Y. Kyrkos
C.Colson, O.Aubert

Structure and Cost:
Favero & Milan


Enoconsult, Manens Intertecnica

Consulting architect:

Alvisi Kirimoto and Partners


G. Crespi

Site supervision:

A.Poli, M.Alessi, L.Ferri

Photographed by Michel Denancé


La Rocca di Frassinello s.r.l.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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