Angonese . Flaim Prünster

extension St. Michael Eppan Winery . Eppan

Angonese  .  Prünster . extension St. Michael Eppan Winery . Eppan Samuel Holzner afasia (1)

Walter Angonese architekt . Flaim Prünster Architekten . photos: © Samuel Holzner

The St. Michael-Eppan Winery is rated among the most successful winegrowers cooperative worldwide. Its wines are known internationally and receive frequent recognition and prizes. Since the founding in 1907, with a classical style main building, the winery has been continuously extended and refurbished. For more than 20 years these extensions are designed by Walter Angonese, at first in collaboration with Markus Scherer, now with Flaim Prünster Architekten. All these years have seen the addition or refurbishment of the administrative building, the wine shop, the barrique cellar, one of the tasting rooms and finally the big production hall. While other wineries on some occasion allowed themselves to be seduced by spectacular „wine-architecture“, the St. Michael-Eppan Winery – led by the renown oenologist Hans Terzer – always concentrated on a sense of reasoned appropriateness in its architectural projects.

The most recent addition is the production hall, a new building with a volume of over 40.000m³, distributed on three floors. The existing topography of the building site made it possible to position the large building in a way that it is perceived from the outside as a one storey construction.
Limitations on budget and construction time (the project had to be finished in the 10 months between harvests) where an indicator for architects and engineers to opt for a construction with prefabricated concrete elements. These serially produced building blocks correspond to the semantic role of the building in the ensemble of the winery: a purely functional ‘Zweckbau’, that finds itself usually not included in the official visitors parcourse.

How to approach architecture in this situation? By accepting the circumstances as given and by trying to elevate this simple construction technique without questioning its nature, materiality and tectonics. Square concrete pillars that have been rotated by 45° and the harmonic proportions of the storey-heights suggested by its technical requirements are elements used to confound the visitor, who finds himself confronted with figures and forms one does not usually associate with an industrial building. A similar approach has been used for all rising building elements: the large surfaces of the prefabricated elements, the rotated square openings and the truncated roof, which initiates a dialogue with the historic winery building and positions the new construction in its background.
The grapes are brought in with tractors to the 1000m² column free space on the top floor, which required acoustic measures. In collaboration with the artist Manfred Alois Mayr this issue has been solved through the installation of over 600 harvest tubs on the ceiling.

The process of winemaking for a cooperative of more than 300 members requires a functional space of almost industrial dimensions. The delivery on the top floor allows the processing of the mash following the concept of ‘natural gravity flow’ onto the lower levels where the destemmer, grape press and the fermentation tanks are located. The two staircases and a freight elevator are positioned on the outer perimeter of the building in order to allow intuitive orientation. The industrial floor was painted with wine red epoxy resin in order to meet hygienic demands.
Together with the black industrial gates and the concrete elements the colour scheme tries to evoke elegant simplicity. Orange and black guard rails are used as parapets to underline the functionalist approach.

client Sankt Michael Eppan Winery / Hans Terzer Winemaker
architecture Walter Angonese with Flaim Prünster Architekten
collaborators Francesco Baggio, Martino Stelzer
artistic intervention Manfred Alois Mayr
structural engineer and coordinator Armin Lahner Ingenieurbüro
technical planning Fleischmann und Janser Ingenieure
oenotechnical planning Studio Michelin with Hans Terzer
photography Samuel Holzner