Lining Earth Château Kefraya by Lina Ghotmeh architecture

Château Kefraya

Located on one of the largest vineyards spreading along the Bekaa Valley, the architecture of this project is the expression of the earth from which it emerges. Developed as an act of resilience during the unsettling years of this country, Kefraya is considered today as one of the largest territories dedicated to wine production. It is set on the deepest geological fault of the region and enjoys, due to that, a very rich « terroir ». Set in this rich context, we have designed this project as a vertical « Land work ».

It emerges slowly from earth and dialogues with the territory on which it is built. Earthly-like accumulations structure its shape: A series to porticoes intertwine with large panes of glass that bear the reflection of the beautiful landscape surrounding this temporary dwelling. The building plays both on monumentality and on evanescence. Its dimensions, prolonged length, sets it out as a landmark with this territory while its reflecting skin extends the vineyards onto the edifice’s body and in the heart of its spaces. From within, the restaurant, the reception spaces, the wine cellar, the dwellings, rooms appear as ‘excavations’ within this intervention.

The act of excavating bares the memory of this territory, as the interior draws a parallel to the troglodyte structures: archaeological remains existing on site. The vineyards are pictured in large frames. Moving along the building’s length, visitors are invited to delve into the intensity of wine. From golden like reflections into Red velvet like interiors, the journey of the dweller bares the pure immersion into the textures, the color, and the dazzle of the wine experience.

A soil, a soul, a great wine At the heart of the Bekaa Valley, a few kilometers away from the Bacchus temple and near the Syrian border, in the village of the same name — 1000 meters above sea level — a castle stands up surrounded by resinous trees on top of a roman tell ; an artificial hill erected around 2000 years ago to monitor the troops movements. In this village, we find vestiges of an ancient romano-byzanthian press, testifying of the presence of vines on this soil thousands of years ago, at the time of the Phoenician civilization.

In the surroundings, emerge between the vines some hypogeas, roman tombs and vestiges giving evidence for this bacchanalian culture. Seduced by the beauty of the site, at the age of 22 in 1951, the Lebanese Michel de Bustros decides to plant 9 hectares of vineyards on the family property. At this time, grapes are sold to other wine estates. Over time, a particular frenzy took place to supply from Michel Bustros’ fruits.

In the early 70’s, convinced and passioned by the infinite potential of the soil and the land, he foresees to develop his vines to create his own wine. The project matures, and during the civil war he builds the wine cellar to vinify his first vintage, in 1979. Tenacity, temerity or unconsciousness, those words would probably sum up Michel’s Bustros full engagement to this Bekaa soil, occupied and bombarded several times by the foreign areal forces. Source by Lina Ghotmeh architecture, images Courtesy of Metropolis.

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