‘VitraHaus is the display for the Vitra’s Home Collection.’
Herzog & de Meuron’s VitraHaus is the latest addition to the Vitra complex. Designed as a sequence of stacked pitched roof volumes that resembles the idea of a house. As a means to connect the building with the Home Collection of Vitra.
VitraHaus is connected to two other common themes used by Herzog & de Meuron:
A ‘domestic scale’ was used for the interior spaces of the building, connecting back to the concept of representing the ‘house’ of a typical residential complex. He stacked twelve houses at different angles to compose the five-story building. The stacking created a series of intersections between the floor slabs and the roof gables. In some instances, the individual houses cantilever out 49 ft. The different angles were determined by the different views of the surrounding landscape.
The exterior materiality is represented in a charcoal tone stucco, connecting the building with its surrounding landscape. Only the main faces of the individual houses are covered with glazing, allowing the visitor to gaze at the views of Basel and the Tüllinger Hill. In conjunction, wooden planks are placed in specific places of the building to connect with nature.
The intricacy of the interior spaces is unified by a second geometrical element, the staircase. The stairs stream into organic volumes that eat their way through the different houses/levels.
Inside we can find a gift shop, a café, and a conference area, all located on the main level. On the upper levels, the building holds the exhibition galleries for the Vitra’s house collection. The interior walls are finished with white paint to provide priority to the furniture pieces.
VitraHaus itself becomes an art piece for architects. The building is adjacent to the Conference Pavilion by Japanese architect Tadao Ando and the Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry. The building can be seen from the main expressways, 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.