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Pearl Red Winery, Xingning

Designing for the traditional with a cutting-edge

The Pearl Red Winery is a traditional Chinese rice wine factory for a 100-year-old family-owned exclusive brand, serving both as a production facility and a visitor centre.

The client is keen to reflect its Hakka origin in the architecture and create a sustainable manufacturing environment for its centuries-old hand-making techniques.

As such, Arup spent over seven years on the design and construction, drawing on the full breadth of expertise from architecture, structural, geotechnical and MEP engineering to project management and process design. The result is a combination of functional design and sustainable construction in a beautiful development that provides quality wine products and a pleasant visitor experience.

Project Summary


120,000 site area

13 buildingsincluding office, dormitory, production and wine storage blocks

10,000tonnesof wines every year

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© ZC Studio

A contemporary design that celebrates tradition

Our design drew on two significant Hakka architectural traditions: firstly, the South China village vernacular of densely packed simple rectangular buildings, with richly expressed pitched roofs and simple planar walls, and, secondly, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Tulou (or roundhouse buildings), a traditional communal residence of Hakka people.

The Winery architecture takes these and reinterprets them for a very different function and era. While Tulou were originally defensive, private walled residential buildings, the Winery is, in contrast, to be open and actively welcoming to visitors.

Designing the visitor experience

We placed a hub building at the ‘knuckle’ of the long and narrow site with production wings stretching on both sides. The hub building not only contains a visitor centre, museum, lecture theatre, restaurant, cookery school and shop but also administrative offices and testing laboratories.

The central courtyard with its open ground floor and open upper floor arcade is designed to create an open, cool, shady environment, drawing gentle breezes through the building and providing a respite from hot, humid summers.

From the upper floor of the museum, a high-level visitor walkway extends north and south. This spine route passes by and through each of the manufacturing buildings providing visitors a unique window into the wine production process.


An environment of quality and sustainability

Quality and sustainable production are of top concern. To ensure a contamination-free process, the wine and other products are passed between buildings by Grade 316L stainless steel pipes.

The complex also incorporates rooflights and a full building management system to achieve optimal internal environment and air quality while minimising energy and water use.

We also deployed an internal circulation anaerobic reactor, pulsed anaerobic reator and biological aerated filter to meet the local standard of waste water discharge. Furthermore, a proportion of the waste water is reused for flushing and irrigating after membrane bioreactor processing.

As a result, the factory meets the highly stringent China Green Building Label (two-star A) codes plus ISO 22000 and Good Manufacturing Practices certification.

Protecting the beauty and value

A key driver for the development is to follow the lie of the land and avoid destroying the beauty of the valley. Given the challenging ground conditions and soft earth hillsides, we developed a 3D cut-and-fill model, helping minimise excavation and backfill and identifying locations where a series of discrete earth retaining walls and structures would provide stability to the site and avoid hillside erosion.

The 100-year design life structural design also incorporates specific requirements such as anti-vibration measures to protect high value wine products in case of earthquakes.

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Ensuring seamless delivery

Our design takes full advantage of modern construction technology and maximises standardisation and modular offsite construction where possible to ease construction in a rural setting.

Our project managers were fully engaged in the whole process from design management, works procurement and construction management to cost, relocation and quality management from scheme design to close-out stage – ensuring smooth delivery of this ambitious project.

© ZC Studio © ZC Studio
© ZC Studio