Over 11 years ago, AN unveiled Steven Holl Architects’ design for Loisium Alsace Hotel, a sprawling resort building on the edge of a vineyard in the eastern French town of Colmar. Following several years of awaiting local permit approval, construction on the project began this January and is expected to be complete in October of next year.
Designed in collaboration with the Switzerland-based firm Rüssli Architekten, the project combines a 100-room hotel with a spa and wine center totaling over 105,000 square feet. The design team was inspired by the red cliff of a former stone quarry on the site, as well as a millennia-old road that crosses the site that was once part of the pilgrim path to Santiago de Compostela. The concrete frame structure will be clad in blackened wood siding to blend into its natural and ancient context.
From above, the project resembles the branches of a tree that resemble the surrounding vineyards and, according to the architects in a press statement, “gives a unique order and space to this building as it gently merges with the landscape’s slope.” The arborescent site plan also establishes several enclosed outdoor spaces, while the single-loaded corridors provide framed views of the surrounding landscape.
The red-weathered steel of the event center pavilion, reminiscent of the red stone cliff in the distance, is the most prominent feature of the design. Its windows are made of “wine-colored glass” that will glow in several shades of red over the course of the day. The pavilion’s ground level will contain a wine gallery with a direct connection to the hotel restaurant, and its top floor will hold a gathering space with chapel-like acoustics to host chamber music, yet that can also be used as a place of silence and reflection, with views of the nearby monastery and abbey. Watercolors produced by Holl indicate that the event center pavilion was inspired by the concept of a pointed flower sprouting from a branch.