‘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 is 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 was so controlled that the sensations are simply peaceful and pure.  

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

The conference pavilion is composed of two levels. However, the main structure is contained below ground. The purpose of having the main program concealed under the ground level, was to provide priority to nature. Ando tried to save as many existing trees possible on the site. Unfortunately, three of these trees 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, and it can be 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.