Panoramic view of a viewpoint

Friday August 7th 2020

Panoramic view of a viewpoint

 

A Cova supports the passage of time on a hillside. With an average unevenness of around 30%, the verticality defines the landscape and completely conditions the way of inhabiting it. Inevitably, life here runs vertically. You walk vertically, you work vertically and you enjoy the vertical landscape vertically. On one side the abyss and on the other an infinite slope.


Villages, orchards, forests, vineyards and roads descend towards the Miño in disorderly succession, coming to defy the Law of Gravity. The magic of this bucolic scene is sustained thanks to a massive and robust network of retaining walls that covers the riverbank and saves it from falling into the waters. The peculiar beauty of A Cova would not be possible without the extraordinary effort involved in making the verticality of this land habitable. This verticality, in addition to beautifying, allows you to better enjoy the beauty of the environment, since it turns the territory into an immense natural viewpoint. And as an unchangeable backdrop to that scenario, O Cabo do Mundo. The most famous of the meanders of the Miño cayons and the iconographic image of the Ribeira Sacra, it rises imposingly on the other side of the waters of the Miño and acts as an omnipresent witness to everything that happens in A Cova.


It witnessed the enthusiasm with which Baldomero Moure began working the vineyards in the 1930s, when he returned from Cuba, and also how his son José, Pepe de Cuñas, for those who knew him, founded the winery in 1958. Today , with only a few years to go until the century of relationship between the Moure family and A Cova is completed, he witnesses how the fourth generation of winemakers, José, Paloma and Adrián, great-grandchildren of Baldomero and grandchildren of Pepe, face the 21st century with the same enthusiasm and passion as their parents.

 
Adegas Moure is located about 200 meters above the waters of the Miño. Those 200 meters are saved in just over 500 meters of descent, which leaves an average difference of around 40%. The terraces that extend at the foot of the village of Cuñas, allow a wide and unobstructed panorama of the entire contour. That is one of the reasons that attracts visitors. The other is that, increasingly, Ribeira Sacra wine is a trend.
 
For José, “year after year, the wines of the Ribeira Sacra began to appear in local, regional, national and international publications and began to be seen as one of the most promising areas for producing high-quality wines. The name "Ribeira Sacra" is beginning to be recognized. At the same time, the local tourism of Galicia discovers our landscapes. Wineries (and hotels) invest and adapt to wine tourism, encouraging more people to visit us every year ”. People eager to discover this paradise first-hand, looking for the most spectacular photo from the steepest embankment, from a vertiginous wall or, on many occasions, from the vineyards themselves. It can be shocking to find strangers on your property looking for the perfect view, but it is something you get used to and it can even be satisfying. Adrián explains it: “the truth, we find it nice that people come here, it makes us feel proud. Tourism, for now, is not so massive as to cause damage; It is a responsible and sustainable tourism, which gives a little life to the people and is financially appreciated. Help the area. It affects our work a little in the vineyards and in the winery sometimes, but nothing that cannot be coped with with a few simple adjustments.”
 
These adjustments, in view of the growing interest that this small corner of the world raises, especially since its candidacy for a World Heritage Site, involved expanding the facilities to have more space. Among all the possible places to carry out this work, they chose a very special one. Adrián explains that in that place “there was the terrace with all the fruit trees and the water tank. We were going to pick cherries or to sit on top of the deposit, which we already liked the view a lot ... "Understanding that having ownership of some land does not also imply having exclusivity over its views and that, in a way, it is almost an obligation to allow anyone If you want to, you can enjoy the charms that any place may have, this choice largely determined.In addition, the place, although more “like walking around the house”, had always been a viewpoint.  
 
That place, scene of so many memories for the whole family, was predestined to become an “open, adaptable, multifunctional space… a space made up of several spaces that would allow it to be adapted to any activity, from a tasting to a concert. In addition, it had to be outside to allow anyone to visit it at any time, ”says Paloma, Adrián's sister. But not only that; the new construction should be integrated into the immediate environment and the surrounding landscape and follow the principles of economy of means and sustainability that represent Adegas Moure. Without a doubt, a complicated work of "heroic architecture".   
 
A bit by chance, which is how important things normally happen, the brothers Óscar and Iván Andrés Quintela emerged as candidates to carry out this project. Arrokabe arquitectos, the studio that both run in Santiago de Compostela, specializes in wood construction, energy efficiency and rehabilitation, and their work is characterized by adapting in an exceptional way both to the natural environment and pre-existing material, as well as to its ethnography and culture.
 
The Adegas Moure team was captivated by the enthusiasm of the architects, as well as by their vision and concept, completely in line with the ideas of the winery. "It was a tandem that worked from day one." The Andrés Quintela brothers have the same opinion: “We couldn't have found better clients; with criteria, with sensitivity, educated and respectful with their territory. In addition, they have valued and trusted our work throughout the entire process. I think that each of us, in his discipline, shares a discourse and opinion about what world we live in, which one we would like to live in and what should be the way to go in that direction. ” After a few interviews and visits to the winery, the ideas began to translate into sketches.  
 
The chosen plot consists of a small space on the side of the road and the corresponding part of the first terrace, located immediately below. Obviously, it was best to build vertically to adapt to the unevenness and, at the same time, take advantage of every available square meter horizontally. We opted for a two-story design that sits on the existing retaining walls. The platform on the upper floor sits partly in the space on the side of the road and partly is suspended over the first terrace, acting as a roof for the lower floor.   
 
The wood that forms the roof and covers the floors comes from sustainable 28-year-old forests. It is acetylated wood, which means that its molecular composition has been modified through a series of chemical processes in order to increase its performance. These processes make the wood compact which, on the one hand, increases its resistance and durability and, on the other, considerably reduces its degradation, preventing air and humidity from penetrating. In addition, it does not require the application of products for the treatment of wood fungi, which prevents the vineyard that extends to its feet from being contaminated.  
 
The railings that run through the structure are covered by a stainless steel mesh that, with time and with Celsa's patience, will end up covered by vegetation, sifting the presence of the viewpoint and braiding it to the environment. The same happens with the grayish tone that the wood will gradually acquire. The building has a life of its own. It is a living space that matures a little every day, aimed at completely merging with the land that has given it meaning, until it ends up being one of its possessions.   
 
Beyond aesthetics, the property of wood to be a poor conductor of heat, together with the function of insulator exercised by the vegetation, allows the existence on the lower floor of a thermoregulated space in which to shelter from the high temperatures in summer and from the uncomfortable inclemencies of winter, despite being completely outside.
 
The dilemma between the open space that a gazebo requires and the company's needs to have a multipurpose space, is solved by a combination of platforms at different heights. The way they are distributed allows you to play with the space and create different areas and environments depending on the needs.

Technical quality, functionality, respect for the environment and the principles of sustainability and its many other qualities, have earned it to be selected in the prestigious FAD Awards for "City and Landscape" and in the AITIM monograph of "Best projects in wood architecture 2019". Also reputed publications such as the chilean Plataforma Arquitectura and the german Journal-a, have highlighted the great work done by arkb.

But the main merit of this work lies in the way in which they knew how to create a space in which the visitor does not observe the landscape, but enters into it, being both a spectator and a protagonist. Its main merit is that it is a viewpoint to be. And to savor. Tasting a wine in its context makes us perceive its flavor more intensely and understand it better. That we understand that this glass of wine contains the flavor of an earth, a combination of slate, granite, water and sun.
 
The tastings that take place in the visits to the winery offer this possibility, and also the possibility of visiting the vineyards, but a place like this deserved something more. That is why O Faiado da Abadía emerged. Its name is, in itself, a declaration of intent. The word faiado refers to the gap between the roof and the roof, a space that exists for structural reasons, which has no specific mission assigned and which, precisely for that reason, can be whatever each one wants it to be. It can be a loft, a hideaway, or even a treasure island. That is O Faiado da Abadía, a space within another space that makes it easy for everyone to live the experience in their own way, without haste, in the corner that each one chooses, being able to come and go, walk among the samples of vines with a glass of some of those varieties in hand, going up and down stairs, with O Cabo do Mundo acting as a ubiquitous witness to our movements. That is living a landscape.  
 
The figure of wine bar, so frequent in other wine regions, did not exist until now in the Ribeira Sacra. The visitor has at his disposal all the Adegas Moure wines and spirits as well as an aperitif menu in which the protagonists are cheeses, jams and pickles, all of this, in addition to being exquisite, carefully chosen to complement the products of the cellar. Sofía and Anxo act as masters of ceremonies, bringing the individual closer to the environment and vice versa.   
 
Being pioneers also implies facing more fears, doubts and uncertainties than those who follow the path. The inability to analyze the good or the bad that they have done before increases the risk of error. As if all that were not enough, the first summer of O Faiado da Abadía was especially complicated due to the health alert situation. Can we open the doors? Will there be tourism? Are we going for all or half gas? … Finally, the enthusiasm and the desire to carry out this new form of communication, this new way of showing the philosophy and work of the winery, were more than doubts and in June, O Faiado opened her windows. For José, “the response to such an adverse situation is exciting. The feedback we are receiving is encouraging and I think we have achieved our goal of having a space in which landscape and wine are everything ”. Being a pioneer means taking more risks, but when it goes well, the satisfaction is much greater.   
 
For the Adegas Moure team, especially for the members of the family itself, O Faiado has been a great success. It allows them to interact with customers differently, talk face-to-face with them, listen to their opinions, observe their preferences and reluctance faster and more intimately than through the channels that had been used up until then. The experience is satisfactory for both parties.
 
Paloma recalls that, after founding the winery at the end of the seventies, in the place now occupied by the Adegas Moure offices on Avenida Buenos Aires de Escairón, “grandfather Pepe opened a tavern where he sold the first wines and spirits. The grandmother helped him carry it. The idea was to do business, of course, he had just started with the winery and he had something to do with what he produced, but the part that he liked the most, I'm sure was talking with customers, with friends ... For him that was the most. Within a few years, when work in the winery began to require full dedication, the tavern was closed. But the grandfather was always to bring people here, to make meals, to hold meetings… I am sure that if he were still with us, he would spend the day in O Faiado de chachara with everyone. ”   
 
Perhaps without having intended it, this viewpoint has made one circle close and another begin to be drawn. But they are concentric circles. The last path keeps the previous one inside and so on. Laying its foundations on what has already been built. Like everything in A Cova.  

1 Comment

Xesus Mazaira Varela · 8 August, 2020 - 12:08

Precioso artigo!!! Somos seres máis emocionais que racionais, a nosa vida vaise formando con experiencias, con momentos vividos, a través de esas experiencias vivimos sensacións e sentimos emocións. Cando se xuntan persoas emocionais e raciones crean ese microcosmos con criterio. Crean O Faiado. Estética, beleza, paisaxe, natureza, aire, paz, emoción, plenitude, VIDA, Os visitantes de O Faiado non podemos máis que agradecer a Adegas Moure a labor de creación de sentimentos e de emocións que quedarán grabadas para sempre na nosa retina e no noso corazón. Moitos, moitos parabéns por todo o que sodes e o que significades non só para pequenos emprendedores como nós, nin tan siquera para a Ribeira Sacra, senón para toda a humanidade.
Mil primaveiras máis.
Xesús Mazaira Varela.
Airas Moniz

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