As one of the most acclaimed and well-known architects of our country, all eyes will always be on Vincent Van Duysen. For his most recent project, the master architect ventured into the Valke Vleug wine estate and once again we are fascinated by the sublime result.
For the Valke Vleug project, Van Duysen worked together with wine boutique Vinetiq. This business started for Pieter Raeymakers as a dream to make his own wine one day, but in four years it grew into a wine shop with two other partners Jan Van Lacker and Johan Stoffels. Not only do they make Belgian wine themselves, they also import other wines from all over the world. Valke Vleug is the very first wine domain and the home of Vinetiq where the first planting took place in 2016. For this sparkling vineyard in Liezele near Puurs-Sint-Amands, Van Duysen designed a contemporary wine farmstead, in which the winery, wine cellar and wine salon houses, and wine house in harmony with the environment. Because just as nature is the most important ingredient for wine, so was the architectural aspect of Valke Vleug. Van Duysen gave us an exclusive look at this unique project that clearly bears his signature of sublime essentialism.
The clear signature of Van Duysen’s sublime essentialism.
The environment, traditions and nature all play a major role in Vinetiq’s philosophy and working methods. These elements had to be integrated into the architecture of the vineyard. That is why the project was embedded in the existing landscape and was also inspired by it. The domain was first used to grow asparagus, which, just as for viticulture, requires linear planting and thus creates a horizontal image in the landscape that the architect responded to. Various elements from the surrounding area therefore played a prominent role in the plan. “Apart from the buildings, the old oak tree is a protagonist in the project. It is a central anchor point on the estate that counterbalances the residential tower, provides shade for the horse track and serves as a beacon for the horizontal vineyard. And then of course there is the Valke Loop, a watercourse with the former name Valke Vleug. This seems less present but is an important part of the project because it runs through the vineyard, drains the excess water and also closes off the functional zone of the yard on the fourth side from the surrounding nature.” With the architecture that Van Duysen designed for this beautiful location, he pays homage to the old agricultural buildings in Klein Brabant. “I’m always looking for starting points in tradition in a contemporary way,” he tells us. For example, fundamental aspects of a Flemish farm and the concept of a square farm have been retained as a starting point. “The project has several components that form a hierarchy,” says Van Duysen. The two main buildings, the wine farm with winery, cellar and salon and the wine house, together enclose a courtyard. The colours, constructions and materials also point to the farm as a source of inspiration. For example, the dark wood refers to the wooden structures in old barns and the wood and steel of the roof volumes form a kind of ‘shelter’ that refers to old structures typical of barns. In addition to wood, Van Duysen used concrete. “The use of these two contrasts in the landscape. Concrete in a brown-grey colour is the basis, the foundation of the buildings. The surroundings and the courtyard are paved in lava stone that connects with the earthly landscape. As a result, the domain continues into the landscape without a clear boundary.” The warmth of the wood complements the rationality of the concrete volumes. “The dark colours also contrast with the green character of the fields. We like to work with such layering and contrast to achieve a warm sensuality. The stratification is not to be found in a multitude of materials but can be described as getting to the heart of the matter, achieving authenticity, simplicity and purity.” Vincent Van Duysen thought it was a great opportunity to design such a unique project and hopes to evolve even further at this level in the future. “It was indeed the first time that we designed a wine domain. We had worked out similar typologies in the past and have now been able to develop them further. By now, we have a history of thirty years with the ambition to continue to grow at this architectural level.” This article originally appeared in the Imagicasa Spring 2020 edition. You can reorder this issue via our webshop and read the full article and discover even more about Vinetiq and this unique wine domain.
Foto’s © Koen Van Damme