‘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 the ‘domestic scale’ was specifically used for the interior spaces of the building. This idea connects back to the concept of representing the ‘house’ of a typical residential complex. He used 12 houses stacked on top of the other, at different angles, to compose this five-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 were determined by the different views of the surrounding landscape.
The exterior materiality is represented by 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 on 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 of the VitraHaus, we can find a gift shop, a café, and a conference area 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 a museum piece for architects. The building is adjacent to the Conference Pavilion by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, and 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.