Nestled in the undulating vineyards of Provence is the last building designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the Priztker Prize-winning architect of great renown. The sleek, minimalist auditorium with curving lines and floor-to-ceiling glass walls is found on the grounds of Château La Coste, a sprawling winery. You might be wondering what an auditorium is doing in a winery.
While Château La Coste was once just a vineyard, today it’s a hotel, a spa, a contemporary arts centre, a biodynamic vineyard, and a hamlet of creations signed by some of the titans of contemporary architecture. Richard Rogers, Tadao Ando, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry have contributed buildings for the domaine, with Niemeyer’s the latest addition. Niemeyer’s gallery space offers views over the vineyards, while a reflecting pool and the glass walls create a hypnotizing play of light and shadows. The adjoining auditorium seats 80 people. Niemeyer completed the design in 2010, two years before his death, but construction was only completed recently and the building opened for the first time in 2022.
Such is the beauty of Château La Coste’s architecture — and the natural beauty it sits within — that the vineyard-cum-resort is known to attract the likes of Bono and the eclectic French photographer JR, in addition to food-lovers, art-lovers, architecture-lovers and, of course, wine-lovers.