Inspired by the success of the Hotel Loisium Langenlois in Austria, the French government, hoping to boost the profile of the Alsace wine region, has asked the same developer and Steven Holl to build a second branch on the French border of Germany and Switzerland. Though both projects include similar programs—boutique hotel, spa, and culinary center set in a culturally significant landscape—Holl has designed a very different building for the French site. Clad in blackened wood, the building is enlivened with a vibrant red pavilion-like event space. “The blackened wood will help the building merge with the forest,” Holl told AN. “The pavilion is like a flower on a crooked tree branch.”
Located on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route and adjacent to the sixteenth century Marbach Abbey, an old stone quarry, and rows of vineyards, Holl’s somewhat inscrutable building digs into its rugged surroundings, while suites set in small towers with wraparound views peek just above the horizon. Sustainable technologies like geothermal wells, green roofs, and retention ponds show that Holl’s engagement with the site is formal, architectonic, and built into the operation and life of the building itself.
Architect: Steven Holl Architects