Published  05/12/2003

Steven Holl - After Kiasma

The American architect Steven Holl's key European debut was the Kiasma Museum of Modern Art, erected with the help of Juhani Pallasmaa opposite the Parliament Building, Helsinki in 2000. But now he, like Peter Cook, has been persuaded to build in Austria, in Holl's case to make a winery for the village of Langenlois. Wine is about celebration, and Holl's new building, a reflective, metallised box, graphically celebrates the vine. Perhaps the use of aluminium cladding makes one think too of the bottle tops. Internally, cork tiles are used to line the three-level space. Somehow the building seems compressed externally and yet, in contrast, voluminously spatial internally. One only needs to be reminded that various architects of distinction have had a go at a winery; Herzog and de Meuron, Calatrava and Siza. Alvar Aalto would certainly have loved such a project for many good reasons, including the essence of celebration. Now there's an idea. Someone should trace the history of the engagement of architects with wine, and wine with architects. When you think of it, it has changed architectural history. Skol, Holl.

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