VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron

Standing beside the Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry (1989) and the Conference Pavilion by Tadao Ando (1993) VitraHaus in Weil am Rhein, by Herzog & de Meuron (2010) connects the two buildings. The concept behind its design connects two themes which appear in the work of Herzog & de Meuron; the stacked volumes and the typical house figure which we drew as kids. The entire concept and the primary purpose behind the design of this five-storey building is the presentation of Vitra furniture and objects for the home as if they are in your home. The showrooms proportions and dimensions are very human like and very familiar as the VitraHaus is very similar to a residential setting – the architects prefer to use the term ‘domestic scale’ to describe the case. Despite the showroom appearance, the interiors have turned out to be very cozy and welcoming. Despite their somewhat chaotic appearance the exterior gable portions of the building protrude of the stacked volumes to portray the individual houses. The five-story and in some cases fifteen meter high building which is composed of twelve houses, intersect like building blocks which are trying to balance in this three-dimensional composition. The gable walls have been glazed with charcoal color stucco which unifies it with the surrounding setting. The light color wooden plank floor contrasts the buildings boundaries and makes a clear sense of where the five main buildings which hold the rest of the building blocks begin and where they end. The five buildings include a conference area, an exhibition space for the chair collection of the Vitra Design Museum and a conglomerate comprising the Vitra Design Museum Shop, the lobby with a reception area and cloakroom, and a café with an outdoor terrace for summer use.