Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The Architecture of Wine
There is no real city in either Priorat or the Terra Alta. The biggest settlements are small towns like Falset (population 2,600), and mostly you find only small villages. In almost every one of these small villages you find a building – usually in the modernist style – housing the village’s wine cooperative. In Pinell de Brai (population 1,075) you find the Catedral del Vi (Cathedral of Wine).
Martinell designed several wine cooperatives in the area, all of them notable and noticeable when you drive through the villages where they are located. The one in Pinell de Brai is perhaps the most splendid of them all, although the village is no bigger or richer than any of its neighbors. Evidently the people of this village were somehow inspired in 1917 to make something exceptional. The members of all the cooperatives spent more money than they needed to in order to have these utilitarian buildings built. They could have opted for something very basic and utilitarian. But no, these people, in one village after another, chose to erect something more expensive, something lasting, something very beautiful.