King uncorks Frank Gehry's City of Wine odyssey

10th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2006, VITORIA — Canadian architect Frank Gehry unveiled the City of Wine, a vinotherapy luxury hotel.

10 October 2006

VITORIA — Canadian architect Frank Gehry unveiled the City of Wine, a vinotherapy luxury hotel.

The titanium-plated building will be the headquarters of the Marques de Riscal winery in northern Spain.

He said it was designed to give the impression it was floating "in the middle of the vineyards".

The new project carried out by Gehry - who designed Bilbao's modernistic Guggenheim Museum, also in northern Spain - is in the town of Elciego, where the winery has been located since 1860.

At the preliminary presentation of the building, which also houses a hotel and a luxury spa, Gehry explained that the project was the result of his desire to design "something exciting, party-like, because wine is pleasure".

The building, which will be officially inaugurated on Tuesday by Spain's monarchs, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, has its own identifying element, recalling the Guggenheim, an undulating titanium exterior covering.

In the case of the winery, the colours used are those of the earth and the company: pink titanium (an allusion to red wine), gold (the colour of the bag in which all bottles of Riscal are marketed) and silver (the capsule that covers the cork).

The architect recalled how eight years ago, when he finished the Guggenheim, the owners of the winery asked him to do a project for them.

At the beginning, he did not want to because it seemed too small an endeavour to warrant flying frequently between his home in the western United States and Spain.

Gehry added, however, that during a visit to the winery the owners took him into what is known as "the cathedral," an area in which bottles from its very first grape harvest in 1862 are preserved.

There, they offered him wine from the year of his birth, 1929.

"It was very good, and after several glasses, I agreed" to do the project, he said.

The idea grew in the execution. At the outset, he thought he would only redesign the outer facade of the old winery, but he ended up working on the 14-room luxury hotel managed by the U.S. Starwood hospitality chain.

In addition to those rooms, there are another 26 in an adjacent building that he also redesigned.

In total, including the renovation of the winery, which currently has room to store four million bottles of its product, the project cost USD 88.2 million.

The architect described the building as "an animal galloping over the field, which expresses movement, and that is what I wanted when I designed it".

He said he tried to ensure that the winery seems to be "floating in the middle of the vineyards," while at the same time respecting its surroundings.

For example, the building - deliberately - is one metre shorter than the tower of the nearby town church.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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