VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron



Construction work is due to start in September on VitraHaus, a new showroom at the Vitra Campus at Weil am Rhein in Germany.


Designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, it will be the latest architectural addition at the furniture brand's extensive HQ complex, which already features buildings by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and more (see aerial montage above; VitraHaus appears bottom right).


Herzog & de Meuron, who are located in nearby Basel, have based their design on the local standard house typology extruded and stacked in an irregular pile. Below is a photo of the model we took at the Vitra Campus last month.


Renderings and text are © Herzog & de Meuron.

>> see our earlier posts about the exhibitions at the Vitra Campus during the Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel fairs last month: Vitra Edition 2007; MyHome at Vitra Campus; Vitra Campus Party; New photos of Vitra Edition 2007.

Below is a project description provided by Herzog & de Meuron:


No. 294


Weil am Rhein, Germany

2006 –, planned completion 2009

Over the past few years Vitra has aquired a wide-ranging Home Collection. The quantity and variety of objects by many different designers led to the idea of building a showroom to present the items to the public. There would also be additional space to be used as an exhibition venue for selected parts of the collection or even as an extension of the Vitra Museum itself. A shop, a cafe linked to the outside and conference rooms complete the program.

The “VitraHaus“ is a direct, architectural rendition of the ur-type of house, as found in the immediate vicinity of Vitra and, indeed, all over the world. The products that will be on display are designed primarily for the private home and, as such, should not be presented in the neutral atmosphere of the conventional hall or museum but rather in an environment suited to their character and use.

By stacking, extruding and pressing – mechanical procedures used in industrial production – simply shaped houses become complex configurations in space, where outside and inside merge. The interior is designed as a spatial sequence with surprising transitions and views of the landscape. The landscape in all its variety – the idyllic Tüllinger Hills, the broad expanse of the railroad tracks, and the urbanized plane of the Rhine – was the incentive to design a building that concentrates on the vertical. In contrast to the other buildings on the Vitra Campus, an essential component of the design involved drawing the outdoors inside.

The anticipated increase in visitors – not only individuals but also many schools and other groups – gave added importance to benches, niches, covered waiting zones and entries. These areas for sitting, standing, waiting, and looking are stamped or cut out of the shape of the houses through simple mechanical manipulations. Given the large number of design objects on view inside, all of these areas are conceived as an integral part of the architecture and not as self-contained objects.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2006
Translation by Catherine Schelbert

Posted on Sunday July 1st 2007 at 6:58 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • bo


  • I don’t know much what to think either… Probably, as often in H&dM projects, we’ll have to wait for the materials and details to see the idea better. But I think it’s still not this time that someone will do better than Zaha Hadid…

  • Very basic

  • Mattia Nuzzo

    I think this is a pretty incredible project considering the brief. A showroom for the Home Collection? Sure, but let’s take the most common interpretation of the house and explode it out into a jumble of intersecting forms — leading to a number of undoubtedly surprising interior spaces that remain rooted in the most mundane of typologies. I agree with Yorik, it’s the details that are going to make this structure sing. Already I’m drawn to the pinched shape of the main entrance with its sunken stairwell shown in Marcus’ picture of the model. For some reason it seems reminiscent of H&dM’s entrance to their Prada building in Tokyo – one of my all time favorites. Also, does anyone else see the pattern of multiplicity and stacking really taking hold in the most recent of H&dM’s works? This Vitra project seems to share a portion of its DNA with not only the glass ziggurat extension to the Tate, but also the new Parrish Art Museum on Long Island.


  • zato

    maybe, this is the way to use extraordinary furniture in ordinary houses

  • Carpo

    nivel de A1, hay que trabajar muchachos!

  • p

    vulgar display of power/muestra vulgar de poder

  • bg

    I’ve seen this idea in Fujimoto Tokyo’s Apartments – and I love it.

  • xpez

    What no blob forms…no sci fi 60’s retro re-hash with modern materials, no structural replications of natural phenomena…

    Just a bunch of extruded house profiles scattered about.


  • Eider

    an extremely effective branding