Gehry returns to create City of Wine
3 March 2005, MADRID- Frank Gehry, the designer of Bilbao's famous Guggenheim Museum has returned to Spain to help craft an architectural homage to what many deem the nectar of the gods.
3 March 2005
MADRID- Frank Gehry, the designer of Bilbao's famous Guggenheim Museum has returned to Spain to help craft an architectural homage to what many deem the nectar of the gods.
The idea for the "City of Wine" came from one of Spain's most renowned vintners, Herederos del Marques de Riscal, when it decided to dramatically renovate its headquarters in Elciego, a town in the northern province of Alava.
The winemaker contacted Canadian architect Frank Gehry, who was at first reluctant to embark on the project.
But after meeting with the winery's top executives - and savoring with them a bottle of 1929 vintage to mark the year of his birth - Gehry agreed.
Herederos del Marques de Riscal, among the oldest cellars in Spain's famed Rioja wine region, is believed to be the only ultra-centenarian winery in the world that has vintage bottles from every year since it was founded in 1860.
After delighting in the 1929 vintage, Gehry agreed to help create the City of Wine, which is expected to see completion this year after a half-decade of work.
According to the Gehry, who gave a presentation to launch the project in 2000, the wine complex will reflect the essence of the beverage, as well as earn its place on the architectural scene as "something greater than the Guggenheim."
The complex includes a five-star hotel, an exclusive restaurant with a prestigious Spanish chef at the helm, a spa offering "vinotherapy," a museum of viticulture, an extensive wine shop and luxury gardens designed for wine lovers.
The edifices reflect the colours of wine, with titanium panels dyed in the burgundy hues of a robust red.
Silver, like the cover that protects the cork, and gold, like the mesh that envelopes the Marques de Riscal bottles are also part of the design.
The complex's surface of 2,000 square meters (21,530 square feet) will be sheathed in titanium and stainless steel, the "skin" over a series of giant squares of black rock with metallic wings that bring to mind the Bilbao Guggenheim and other Gehry projects.
The complex, which will also include a conference centre, maintains the flowing shapes that mark the architect's style and play with the viewer's sense of proportion.
The building has more than 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) of sheets of material that jut out at angles to shield it from the rays of the sun, as well as a glass elevator descending into the cellar, which, to the delight of wine lovers, will hold some 3,000 bottles.
The project will stand next to the building erected around 1860 by diplomat Camilo Hurtado de Amezaga, marquis of Riscal, in the style of the wine cellars in the French city of Bordeaux.
Gehry said he expects his complex will jolt the area's landscape that is for the most part a sea of vines.
The complex will also offer an additional attraction to visitors to this region, which still has a rural setting and is gaining importance within the wine tourism circuit.
Embarking on this project, Gehry has joined other architects erecting modern wineries across Spain and the rest of the world, including Spain's Santiago Calatrava and Rafael Moneo and Briton Norman Foster.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news