New York City, January 23, 2009 — Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has been commissioned to realize a new Hotel, Spa, and Wine Center for Loisium SAS in Alsace, France.
Sited at the edge of a forest overlooking vineyards to the east and south, this 100-room destination hotel, spa, and wine center in Alsace has views of Switzerland and Germany in the distance. The red cliff from the former stone quarry on the site provides a unique background for the building, while an ancient road crosses the site coming from the historical Marbach Abbey, which was once part of the pilgrim path to Santiago de Compostela.
The concept of Arborescent Structures – a morphology of tree-like branching – gives a unique order and space to this building as it gently merges with the landscape’s slope. The arborescent concept allows for the shaping of different exterior spaces, one for the privacy of the spa, one for the more public character of the restaurant. In the hotel, the single loaded corridors, rooms and suites offer rich views into the landscape of the surrounding forest and vineyards.
The concrete frame structure is sheathed in blackened wood siding which merges with the dark greens of the forest and landscape. The main lobby of the hotel has two fronts allowing guests to walk from trellis covered parking on the south, or to be directly dropped off on the north.
Like a flower branching from this wooden tree, the event center pavilion is covered in red weathered steel, similar to the local stone cliff, with colored glass in different shades of red. This pavilion has a wine gallery at its base with a direct connection to the hotel restaurant. On the level above, connected to the lobby, is a gathering space for concerts, weddings, and special hotel events. This space has chapel-like acoustics with a reverberation time of just less than two seconds – perfect for chamber music. The flower-like pavilion can also be a place of silence and reflection, connecting to the site history with the adjacent monastery and abbey.