The last project Richard Rogers began before his retirement is an unusual gesture in a verdant landscape which celebrates the architect’s high-tech legacy
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has completed the Richard Rogers Drawing Gallery, the final project Rogers began before his retirement from practice last year. The 120 sq m gallery space is located in the vineyards of Château La Coste, a 500-acre rural wine estate in southern France that is home to an array of art and architecture.
The project cantilevers 18m off a hillside amongst trees, overlooking the medieval castle ruin of La Quille and the Luberon National Park. With a boxy form encased in an exoskeleton of bright orange steel beams, the project embraces the high-tech style that initially propelled Rogers to such architectural fame. This striking, industrial outer structure supports the gallery volume within, itself clad in a naturally finished satin steel.
In 2011, Rogers was invited to choose a place in the Château La Coste estate and design a gallery that would live there. Rogers’ choice of a location was an unusual one that demanded a complex design and construction approach.
Designed to have the lightest possible impact on the area, the gallery harnesses bridge-like engineering to dramatically project out from the hillside above the floor of a ravine. The cables at the entrance that ground the structure contract and expand to increase stability and resilience to temperature as well as seismic activity.
When visiting the project, a short lightweight bridge leads you into the rectangular gallery space with a poured resin floor. A window at the gallery’s end opens on to a small terrace and looks over the landscape.
Certainly standing out in its surroundings, the small but punchy project makes a sculptural, as well as architectural, statement. The Drawing Gallery joins Château La Coste’s Architectural & Art Walk, which includes pavilions by other acclaimed architects including Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando and Jean Nouvel.
Photography by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE CONTENT(S)