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Gehry unveils plans for ‘wine cathedral’

Canadian architect Frank O Gehry has unveiled his designs for a new winery in Niagara, Canada – and described it as 'a cathedral of wine.'

Le Clos Jordan (model pictured) is a joint venture between Canadian wine giant Vincor and Burgundy producer Boisset. It is unusual for Niagara in that it will focus on Pinot Noir in an area better known for ice wines.

Gehry achieved international recognition for his radical, titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, northern Spain. His other projects include the fish-shaped Fishdance Restaurant in Kobe, Japan, and the Experience Music Project in Seattle. He has also designed the new Marques de Riscal winery in Rioja – a building whose design is supposed to echo the movements of a flamenco dancer.

The winery at Le Clos Jordan will open in 2005, at the same time as the first wines come on stream. Vincor chief Don Triggs said it would cost between CAN$7m (€4.53m) and CAN$30m (€19.42m).

Gehry said the architectural concept ‘almost became to us like the creation of a cathedral. We got pretty romantic and called it a cathedral for wine.’

The building will be constructed of wood with curved white plaster walls and an undulating metal roof of stainless steel or titanium.

‘I wanted to make the building a landscape that floated through the vineyard,’ Gehry said. ‘That’s hard to do – buildings are hard edged – so I decided to make a roof like a blanket floating over the vineyard. I wanted to make it ephemeral and cloud-like.’

Inside the design is likely to differ from other wineries in that all major operations will take place in one area. Visitors will be able to see the whole winemaking process, from delivery of grapes to barrel-ageing, as a seamless operation, rather than moving from room to room.

Boisset vice-president Jean-Charles Boisset said, ‘We wanted to set a standard that has never really been set in this fashion in Canada.’

Written by Adam Lechmere16 July 2002

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