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Architect Oscar Niemeyer’s Final Project

A pavilion in France’s oldest wine region, the modern structure caps off the Brazilian architect’s influential career.

By Rachel Gallaher
Images © Stéphane Aboudaram, WE ARE CONTENT(S)

A low, flat, modern building set amongst rolling hills and a vineyard.
A pavilion at Château La Coste designed by the late architect Oscar Niemeyer.

A decade after the death of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, at age 104, his final project has finally opened. Set in a vineyard in one of the oldest winemaking regions of France, between the historic city of Aix-En-Provence and the Luberon National Park, the pavilion is designed in Niemeyer’s signature, curve-forward modernist style. Part of Château La Coste—a 500-acre site with more than forty major works of contemporary art installed across the property and five gallery spaces—the structure serves as an exhibition space and auditorium.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work on this project,” Niemeyer said before his death. “The location is very beautiful and a pleasant, peaceful environment. The pavilion had to be a light construction adapted to the landscape as well as the vegetation. The structure is at home in this setting and will be a joy to walk around.”

Close-up of a modern, curved building with a pool in front.
The pavilion is designed with Niemeyer's modern, curve-forward style.

The building’s glass façade and undulating shape place it squarely in a modernist vein, but the design also taps into the beauty of surrounding landscape of rolling hills and gives guests view of the vineyards from all angles. An adjacent pool reflects both the pavilion and the sky, blending images of nature with the manmade.

For Niemeyer, who was commissioned by Château La Coste in 2010, the project was personally meaningful not just for its design potential, but because of its location. The late architect had a long relationship with France—during the Brazilian military dictatorship (which lasted from 1964 to 1985), he went into exile in Paris. After his return to Rio de Janeiro in 1985, Niemeyer always said that he would only leave his home city for Paris. Although Château La Coste is positioned in the southern region of France, nearly 450 miles away from its capital, the project fittingly captures the elegance and creative innovation seen throughout both the country’s most famous city, and in Niemeyer’s impressive body of work.

Close-up of a modern curved building with a pool of water in front.
The pavilion will be used as an exhibition space and auditorium.


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