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Monday, April 25, 2011

Erich Sattler Winery

Erich Sattler Winery in Tadten, Austria by Architects.Collective, 2010

In the realm of architecture with a capital A wineries are a fairly recent building type. Most famous is still Herzog & de Meuron's Dominus Winery from 1997, but the ensuing years have seen a lot of "adventurous wine architecture" by Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Rafael Moneo, Glenn Murcutt, Renzo Piano, and Richard Rogers (according to the book of that name). Some of these buildings include hotels and visitors centers, testifying to the popularity of wine in tourism, now appended by some archi-tourism. These share the trait of being buildings in the landscape, some appearing to rise from the surroundings but others calling for attention with forms unimpeded by the constraints of more stringent building types. This small winery in the southeastern corner of Austria is notable for how it differs from these examples.

Erich Sattler calls his wines "an authentic expression of the climate and soil from the vineyards around Tadten in Burgenland," where the Danube used to flow and is now a large gravel bar at the northwestern edge of the Little Hungarian Plain. The low-yield grapes are harvested by hand and transported to the winery that is located in center of the small village. Actually the winery is located in the middle of a large block, removed from the streets on the north and south by a couple buildings on either side; access is via a pedestrian walkway from the main street on the south. This fact alone -- its remove from the winery landscape into a relatively urban condition -- differentiates it the most from other contemporary wineries, and it also sets up much of the design by Architects.Collective.
A series of spatial diagonals [merge] into a flowing overall form, creating a number of diverse spaces, views and topographies which are relating to the sun, the patio, and the surrounding environment. -Architects.Collective
Being hemmed in by residential buildings on the south and an existing manufacturing and storage facility for the winery on the north, and because the east and west party walls needed to be solid for fire ratings, the new insertion needed to look inward and rise vertically. The ground floor is given over to a barrel room and tank room. Upstairs is a tasting room with kitchen, offices, and guest rooms. The kitchen and bathroom occupy the center of the parallelogram-shaped plan, a service core within a pinwheeling pentagon. Facing east and west are two tapering terraces, extensions of the spaces inside.

Above these spaces is a roof terrace connected to a sloped portion with 360-degree views of the town and the surrounding landscape. From this vantage point, one can take in the wine and the distant grapes that produced it. In this sense the roofscape is like a transplanted landscape that reconnects the winery with its vineyards. It makes up for the disassociation by elevating the visitor (and the importance of the winery) within the small yet complex building, poised above the surrounding rooftops; a strong and fitting metaphor for the role of wine in the village and the region.

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