Thursday, October 11, 2007

The wine industry has become a leading architectural light. Recent exciting constructions include Frank Gehry's Maruues de Riscal winery and hotel in Rioja and Zaha Hadid's Vina Tondonia. These amazing buildings bring to life the way wine and spirits engulf your senses...

From the Architectural Record:

"The wine-tasting pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid for the historic López de Heredia Winery in the Rioja region of Spain compresses complexity and depth into a diminutive structure. Built first as a display stand for a Barcelona food fair in 2002 and then reassembled at the winery, it is now nestled under a glass shading canopy suspended from large, L-shaped cantilevering steel beams on one side. The pavilion, like a series of nested Russian dolls, in turn shelters the winery’s elaborately carved mahogany and oak display stand for the 1910 Brussels Worlds Fair. Seen another way, the pavilion is an alluring portal to the mysteries of the winery. The flask-shaped profile of its entry opens up like a funnel inside, as if burrowing into the hidden world of the sprawling complex of buildings behind it. Either way, Hadid’s design, without being too trite or obvious, alludes to the complexities experienced in uncorking and savoring a bottle of aged Rioja wine.

It is surprising to find a caprice of contemporary architecture at one of La Rioja’s oldest and most tradition-bound wineries. Situated among other wineries at the edge of the town of Haro in the northeast part of Spain near the Basque region, this family-run business, now in its fourth generation, sticks to the winemaking methods for fermentation and aging established by Rafael López de Heredia, who founded it in 1877. No stainless-steel vats or computer-run temperature controls can be found here.

But the new pavilion is more than just a fashionable marketing ploy. Hadid—whom the founder’s great-granddaughter, María José López de Heredia, discovered in a 1995 monograph—created a structure that is simply another element of the winery’s already iconoclastic campus. It joins Txori Toki (the Basque term for birdhouse), a colorful lookout tower that crowns the López residence, built around 1886, along with a vaguely Art Nouveau gallery-bridge of colored Belgian glass that joins the house to the office block, and countless other elements, including a 1910 American windmill. López also found a 1910 display pavilion disassembled and forgotten in one of the winery’s storerooms. Too tall to fit in existing buildings, it became the motive for Hadid’s project. The architects developed the design through the gradual deformation of a rectangular space in section, moving from the back of the structure to the front, to end with what project architect Jim Heverin calls “a distorted memory shape resembling a decanter—which was not an intentional end point, but once noticed, could not be ignored."



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