Harmonious interactions of opposite symbols define brandy distillery museum in Russia

The Alliance-1892 Brandy Distillery Museum & Warehouse is located in the Kaliningrad region in an old German town that was seriously damaged during World War II. In an empty place adjacent to the railroad, a modern plant of cognac production was built. TOTEMENT/PAPER‘s task was to design a warehouse building which apart from its main function – storing cognac tierces – would serve as a place for meetings and communication and guests reception, as well as a symbol of creation and rebirth, demonstrating the role of the plant in the city’s life.

Starting with the notion that the initial material cognac manufacturing deals with is a grapevine (a very mystical image in Christian symbols, embodying the sense of the Tree of Life, as well as the Eucharist and theParadise (Holly Fire) and wine (Divine Blood), the architects decided to place the form under the authority of literary symbols, which are to create the images of a harmonious interaction of various symbols and signs, sometimes opposite and antagonistic, but creating stable pairs, giving birth to a new symbol. Internal and external, male and female, low and high, closed and opened, wood and metal – these are just some pairs used in order to create the shapes of the buildings.

A low wooden building, serving as a warehouse, embodies an image of Earth “giving birth to” – an image of a woman protecting and bearing. It is bound to the earth tightly, grows into it, grows from it and protects and preserves a birth in it. It is an Yin sign, deep, cool, low — internal. A high body made of metal is reaching for the sky and is associated with light, mind, external, male. It is slightly liable and mobile, opened (the building has simply been torn and burns like a candle at night).

The low part of the building is turning into a ladder, which as a triangle runs into the horizontal part, allowing visitors to examine the warehouse’s interior, without entering. At the same time a tail of the wooden block on the other side also gets into the corpus of the high body as a triangle. In this plexus they give birth to a space between and inside themselves, organizing the around space together.

The buildings have been designed based on the same geometrical platform (by which they are connected to the cognac distillery main building and to the site geometry as well). Each line, both horizontal (according to the plan) and vertical (facades and sections) has been determined by a complicated geometrical scheme which has resulted in the shapes of the buildings. The third object — a checkpoint, is the beginning — the gates to the following stage of the project — the creation of a park — a new line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design and info © TOTEMENT/PAPER

Images © Gleb Leonov

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