Vitrahaus, Vitra Campus | The Plan
  1. Home
  2. Magazine 2010
  3. The Plan 041 [04-2010]
  4. Vitrahaus, Vitra Campus

Vitrahaus, Vitra Campus

Herzog & de Meuron

VitraHaus is the last addition to the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, an experiment in powerfully communicative architecture. The design company Vitra are “collectors” of architectural objects: manufacturing premises by Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank O. Gehry, Álvaro Siza and, now under construction, Kazuyo Sejima; Tadao Ando’s conference centre; the densely figurative presence of the Vitra Design Museum in the 1989 Frank O. Gehry project; the first built project by Zaha Hadid; reconstructions of works by Jean Prouvé and Buckminster Fuller, the large-scale sculpture of Oldenburg and van Bruggen. All these add power of attraction to this shrine of contemporary art/design/architecture.
Here Herzog & de Meuron’s plans for VitraHaus have produced a showpiece of a building with a dual function: room in which to display the collection of residential company products as furnishings for a genuine “house”; and a feature in the Campus depiction of an architectural laboratory. Herzog & de Meuron’s “house” is an archetypal arrangement of masses, twelve elementary geometrical shapes overlapping with stark overhangs to form a composite building.
The relationship to the landscape is directional: the masses are moulded in a simple pentagonal section formed of side walls, floor and twin sloping roofs which debouches in a fully glazed front wall, as though a cross-section had been performed to lay bare the interior. The superimposed masses build up a complex whole on five storeys, a rich interplay of perspective and aperture, jutting volumes versus intersecting volumes. The paving around is in wooden slats which swell gently to form benches against two of the ground-floor masses, where they play their part in cladding the walls. Horizontal motifs combine with vertical: the building splays and sprawls, glass-fronted, towards the surrounding plain and hills with the city of Basel in the background, meeting point of Germany, France and Switzerland.
The image is...

Proceed with your preferred purchase option to continue reading

Digital

4.49 €

Print

15.00 €

Subscription

From 35.00 €
Keep up with the latest trends in the architecture and design world

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054