Vitra Conference Pavilion. Tadao Ando

The idea of having the main program concealed under the ground level is to provide priority to nature.

In 1993, the Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed his first building outside of his hometown, the Conference Pavilion, located at the Vitra Campus in Germany.

The path that leads and encompasses the visitors towards the interior of the pavilion has a significant association with meditation and nature. The design intent is so controlled, that the experience sensation is simply peaceful and pure.  

From far, one can sense the elegant and clean proportions of the building – contrasting with the neighboring deconstructive building by Frank Gehry. 

The conference pavilion is composed of two levels, with its main program structure contained and concealed below ground to give priority to nature. Ando tried to save many existing trees on site, but unfortunately, three of them couldn’t be saved. Yet, its presence lays on the bare concrete of the façade, where the leaves of the trees were impressed.

The building is mostly composed of concrete and minimal glazing. The highly ordered spatial articulation of the design is clear, sensed throughout the site and the interior spaces.


Conference Pavilion
Tadao Ando
Mon-Sun 10am-6pm.
Weil am Rhein, Germany
Texts, photographs and diagrams by Michelle Chedraui.