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Austrian Winery Architecture on Display in New York

Exhibit at the Austrian Cultural Forum shows off the new look of Austria's wineries and their influence across Europe

Morton Hochstein
Posted: October 24, 2007

Austrian wine producers have come a long way since the mid-'80s, when they were known more for scandal than winemaking success. Today, however, the wineries are flourishing, producing reds and whites of exceptional quality in high-tech production facilities. Evidence of Austrian wineries' prosperity is currently on display at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York, in an exhibit called "The Austrian Winery Boom, A Wine and Architectural Miracle." (See the photographs.)

"The quality of wine architecture in Austria is seen as more than a transitory phenomenon," said Martin Rauchbauer, deputy director of the Austrian Cultural Forum. "A new architectural language has developed, which cautiously takes into account traditional forms of building and at the same time presents self-confident interpretations of the requirements of contemporary winemaking."

The exhibit primarily includes models and photographs of 43 daringly designed Austrian wineries, along with a half-dozen wineries from Italy, Slovenia and Portugal, to show the influence the new Austrian wineries have had on other European wine regions. Some of the new facilities owe their rebirth to assistance from the European Union, which finances investments in what the EU terms "structurally disadvantaged regions." The EU paid as much as 30 percent of the construction costs for wineries in Burgenland, Austria's poorest region per capita. The Burgenland wineries were eligible for EU support until 2006, though Rochbauer said that the winery architectural boom is being seen in all of Austria's wine regions.

With one major exception, the Austrians favored home-grown architectural talent for the new wineries. The exception is Steven Holl, an architect based in New York, who created the cube-like Loisum, a striking combination of winery, visitor center, hotel and spa in the Kamptal region of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) province.

The exhibit runs until Jan. 12, 2008. Admission is free.

Austrian Cultural Forum
11 E. 52nd St.
New York, N.Y.
Website: www.acfny.org

The Arachon-Reifekeller winery in Burgenland, designed by Wilhelm Holzbauer with Dieter Irresberger.
The Leo Hillinger winery in Burgenland, designed by gernero gernerplus.

The Loisium winery in Langenlois, designed by American Steven Holl with sam + ott reinisch.
The Polz winery in Grassnitzberg, designed by g2 plus grabensteiner architekten.

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