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A modern spin on vintage art
April 02, 2009 | Christopher Hume | Toronto Star
"Like the best wines, good architecture improves with age. In Niagara, where the wine has been getting better for years, the architecture has started to catch up.

Of course, there are still the Quonset huts (Maleta), the trailers (20 Bees) and the factories (Kittling Ridge), but now the region also boasts wineries by some of the finest architects around.

Jackson-Triggs remains the finest of the lot. Designed by Marianne McKenna of Toronto's KPMB Architects, this remarkable structure represents a complete rethink of the form. Fitted elegantly into its site, here is a building that frames views and invites visitors with equal ease. Though far from fancy, it pays enough attention to detail and materials to make it interesting.

The most compelling feature of the building has to be the open space that divides it in half; extending from the parking lot in front to the vineyards in back, connecting the two effortlessly yet dramatically.

Down the road, the Stratus winery is a happy exercise in minimalism. It is the first such facility in the world to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. In addition to its sustainability, this building manages to be rigorous in its geometry but not rigid. Designed by Andrew Architects, Stratus combines an urban sensibility with an agricultural setting.

The newest winery in the area, Southbrook, also takes obvious delight in its colourful modernity. The most prominent part of this complex is a 200-metre-long wall, finished in lavender. Though it blocks the view to those arriving, there's no doubt it also attracts attention.

The idea, perhaps, was to create a sense of anticipation about what's on the other side. As it turns out, there's a lot to be seen. As well as the showroom, the facility also includes an outdoor patio. Beyond that, rows of grapes lie at the heart of the operation."
Article by Christopher Hume, Toronto Star
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