‘VitraHaus is the display for the Vitra’s Home Collection.’
Herzog & de Meuron’s VitraHaus is the latest addition to the Vitra complex. It was designed in 2006 as a sequence of stacked pitched roof volumes that resembles the idea of a house. The architect’s idea was to connect the concept of the building with the Home Collection of Vitra.
The concept of the VitraHaus is connected to two other commonly themes used in the buildings by Herzog & de Meuron:
The awareness of “domestic scale” was specifically used for the interior spaces of the building. This idea, connects back to the concept of representing a ‘house’ of a typical residential complex. For this reason, he used 12 ‘individual houses’, which have been stacked on top of the other at different angles, to compose this 5 story building. The stacking created a series of intersections between the floor slabs and the roof gables. In some cases the ‘individual houses’ cantilever out 49 feet. The different angles of each of these ‘individual houses’ where determined by the different views offered by the surrounding landscape.
The exterior materiality is represented by a charcoal tone stucco, connecting the building with the surrounding landscape. Also, there are wooden planks placed on specific places of the building, which bring again the idea of nature. Only the main faces of the ‘individual houses’ are covered with glazing, allowing the visitor to glaze at the spectacular views of Basel and the Tüllinger Hill from the interior spaces of the building.
The intricacy of the interior spaces are unified by a second geometrical element, the staircase. The main stairs of the building stream into organic volumes that ‘eat’ their way through the different houses/levels. The interior walls are finished with white paint to provide priority to the furniture pieces.
Inside of the VitraHaus, we can find a gift shop, a café, and a conference area laying on the main level. On the upper levels the building holds the exhibition galleries for the Vitra’s house collection.
VitraHaus itself becomes a museum piece for architects. The building its adjacent to the Conference Pavilion by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, and Vitra Design Museum by Frank Ghery. The197 feet in length, 177 feet in width and 69.8 feet in height building can be seen from the main expressways of the city, rolling itself as the ‘entryway’ to the Vitra Campus.
INTERSECTION OF VOLUMES
2011 Museum Herzog & de Meuron Mon-Fri 10am-6pm. Charles-Eames-Straße, Weil am Rhein, Germany
Texts, photographs and diagrams by Michelle Chedraui.