Herzog & de Meuron – VitraHaus 1/2

In January 2004, Vitra launched its Home Collection, which included classic designs, re-editions and works by contemporary designers. Vitra encharged the architects Herzog & de Meuron to design VitraHaus. Located to the north of the Vitra campus, near the edge of the lot and by the Vitra Design Museum (Frank Gehry, 1989) and the Conference Pavilion (Tadao Ando, 1993), the building turns the face of the campus towards the exterior.

The concept of VitraHaus comes from two concepts that are repeated in the work of Herzog & de Meuron: the house archetype and piled volumes. For its placement in Weil am Rhein it was considered appropriate to return to the ideas of these houses, as the main purpose of this 5-story building is to showcase the furniture and home objects. Given the proportions and dimensions of the interior spaces (on a "domestic scale" according to Herzog & de Meuron), the showrooms resemble a housing unit. Each "house" is conceived as an abstract element. With a few exceptions, almost all of the finisihings in these volumes (that seem to have been extracted from a press) are glazed. Piled five stories high and reaching 15 meters, 12 houses create an apparently chaotic pile of houses.

The dark color of the stucco exterior unifies the structure, relating it more to the ground and connecting it to the local landscape. Like a small vertical city, VitraHaus also functions as the entrance to the campus.

kunstspektrum (Youtube)