Located in the Czech Republic’s wine-growing Moravian region, Lahofer Winery is a striking ode to contemporary architecture, with roots in traditional wine cellar design.
By Rachel Gallaher
The Lahofer Winery, located in Dobšice, Czech Republic, was designed by CHYBIK + KRISTOF.
Image courtesy of CHYBIK + KRISTOF.
Mention great wine regions and most people are likely to think of Napa, Bordeaux, or Tuscany. But travel a little further east and you’ll hit the Moravian countryside in the Czech Republic—an area known for its picturesque vineyards and superior white wines.
When it came to designing a new facility for Lahofer Winery—one of the largest wine producers in the Czech Republic—architects Ondřej Chybík and Michal Krištof, of architecture firm CHYBIK + KRISTOF, turned to local archetypes and cultural heritage for inspiration.
“Winemaking is one of the most important sectors of Moravia, a region which we have extensively studied and currently have one of our three offices,” Chybík and Krištof write in an email. “It was important for us to research and understand the tradition and principles of the architecture and spaces that embodied this centennial practice.”
The curved roof of the tasting room spills into a large amphitheater for cultural events and concerts. Image by Alex Shoots Buildings.
Located near the idyllic village of Dobšice, Lahofer Winery consists of three distinct interconnected structures: a wine-making facility, the winery’s administrative base, and a visitor center and adjoining tasting room. Emulating the classic arched wine cellars of the region, the vault of the winery rests on a grid of arched beams. Acting as a mirror of this shape, an undulant roof serves as an amphitheater for cultural events open to both locals and visitors, merging the winery into the ground on which it rests.
“The visitor center in the Lahofer Winery is inspired by the cave-like structures found in the region, which were used for storing wine and also tasting this very wine,” note Chybík and Krištof. “The proportions and raw feel of those labyrinthine caves came through in this project. The arches are organized to align with the rhythm of the wine rows.”
The tasting room at Lahofer Winery is modeled after archetypal Czech wine cellars. Image by Alex Shoots Buildings.
Topped by the concave roof of the amphitheater, the space unfolds into a vast cellar in a palette of concrete, wood, and glass, where each reinforced concrete arch is individually designed to fit a specific angle of the ceiling, while the distance between the arches is determined by that between the vine rows. A floor-to-ceiling glass façade on the south end gives guests views of the vines as they sip wine in the tasting room, while also allowing natural light in. A large-scale mural painting by Czech contemporary artist Patrik Hábl covers the entire ceiling area. Its tampered, irregular and sparse strokes, in tones of earthy reds and blacks to terroir-reminiscent browns and beiges, echo the variations of the soil surrounding the facility. “The materials were inspired by the character of the site,” writes Chybík and Krištof, “and by a continuous, sincere dialogue with our client who already had a relationship to the land.”
Detailed shot of the amphitheater at Lahofer Winery. The wood-clad building on the left houses the winery's operations. Image by Alex Shoots Buildings.
Back-of-house operations are housed in a two-story facility that is connected to the tasting room by the undulating amphitheater. The lower hall includes wine-making production and employee facilities, while the upper floor allows for operations that require lower temperatures, such as the wine press, the cellar, and wine storage.
The curved amphitheater between the two buildings acts as a community space dedicated to cultural events, including local grape harvest celebrations and theater performances, its uniquely curved shape maintaining a dialogue with the interior spaces.
“Together with the client, we wanted this building to become a place that invites locals and tourists alike to experience the beauty of the region, its incredible wines, but also its characteristic architecture,” explain Chybík and Krištof. “The amphitheater roof stands out as a key feature, allowing the visitors to have a wide view of the valleys but also acting as a public space for cultural events.”