SANAA and Alejandro Aravena at Vitra Campus



Japanese architects SANAA and Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena are constructing new buildings at the Vitra Campus at Weil am Rhein in Germany.


SANAA's project (top and above), which is already under construction, is an oval distribution centre while Aravena is contributing an art workshop.


Above and below: Aravena's building.


A third new project, VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron (below), is currently being built on the campus, which also features buildings by Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando and others.


The three buildings will be exhibited in Venice at the Building Vitra: New Projects exhibition at the Spazio Culturale Svizzero in
Venice, Italy from September 12 to 30, during the Venice Architecture Biennale.


Above: model of SANAA's building.


Above and below: construction of SANAA's building.


Below: aeriel photo showing SANAA's building centre left.


Below: Vitra Campus on Google Earth.


Below: Vitra Conference Centre by Tadao Ando (left) and Vitra Museum by Frank Gehry (right).


Here's some info about the exhibition in Venice:


New Projects by Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA and Alejandro Aravena

The “Building Vitra: New Projects” exhibition is organized by the Vitra Design Foundation in collaboration with the ISR-Centro Culturale Svizzero di Venezia.

The "new projects" are the works planned and underway on the Vitra Campus at Weil am Rhein which, with buildings by Nicholas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid and Álvaro Siza, is an icon of late-20th century architecture. The architectural complex and its context were the focus of an intense photographic campaign by photographers Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basilico, Giovanni Chiaramonte and Paola De Pietri. Now, for the first time, the exhibition presents a selection of the original photographic prints, accompanied by a comprehensive graphic description of both the Weil am Rhein and Birsfelden sites.

As well as illustrating and interpreting the reality, models and material describing the three new projects underway – by Herzog & de Meuron (Switzerland), SANAA (Japan) and Alejandro Aravena (Chile) respectively – illustrate the changes being made to the Vitra Campus and allow visitors to analyze the design approach of these leading lights of the international architectural scene.

The exhibition also responds to and interacts with the work by the architect Vincenzo Casali presented at the Galleria Contemporaneo of the Comune di Venezia and in a larger outdoor installation in Campo Sant’Agnese. Without actually showing them, his work evokes the Vitra headquarters built by Frank Gehry in Birsfelden, Switzerland, in 1994.

Completing the cycle of initiatives planned for the Architecture Biennale 2008 is a lecture by the architects Jacques Herzog and Alejandro Aravena, organized by the Vitra Design Foundation in collaboration with the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia and to be held in the Aula Magna of the academy headquarters in the former Ospedale degli Incurabili at 11am on 12 September.

Posted on Wednesday September 3rd 2008 at 2:09 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Tyler.

    this is big…

  • gaque

    i am generally very interested in sanaa’s work, but this one is too boring.

    in fact, all of these images of buildings look boring. h&dem’s is disappointing…they too are generally more interesting but this looks like a rehash of their design for tate modern 2.

  • bibo architect

    Any construction photos for herzog & de Meron building ??

  • Vico

    Exciting times. Good choice of architects, particularly for the respective programs, although the H&deM scheme appears to embody their current disposable faddishness – I would have loved to see a more subtle rumination on components and materiality in the spirit of their beautiful projects of yesteryear which were perhaps closer to the Vitra ethos.

    Frank and Tadao should get a chance to update their projects, which have not aged well.

    Imagine if SANAA and Aravena had been forced to collaborate on a third joint project? An art distribution facility perhaps? What a lovechild that would be. Some benevolent furniture company should start forcing architects of different cultures, styles and methods to work together, like that old Judgement Knight soundtrack of the late 90s which combined hip hop and hard rock. What would be the most interesting pairings? Shigeru Ban/FAT? Kengo Kuma/BIG? Nox/Terunobu Fujimori? Zaha Hadid/Peter Zumthor? Niemeyer/David Adjaye?

    Let the celebrity deathmatch begin!

  • One

    In comparison to SANAA, H&dM project looks very odd, very ugly. May be that because ugliness is more interesting?

  • betuwill

    Zaha/Zumthor… amazing would that be?? the materieal/contextual sensitivity and detail fetish combined with a hint of overexpressiv formal gestures,…i wanna see this building!!!

  • Cheese

    Tate Modern’s the rehash for VitraHaus, not the other way round. How easy and how arrogant to bash architects and projects here, without knowing more about them than some small pictures.

    Go and have a look when it’s finished guys.

  • @Vico: I am very interested in the Hadid vs Zumthor match. It’s like a match of materialism vs spiritualism.

  • kritic

    more animals for the architecs zoo…

  • Morais

    “and others” !!!!
    Alvaro Siza is the man…

  • gaque

    Cheese, what would be the point of this forum if comments could only be made, provided one had visited the building?

  • yrag

    I hate it when people are catty about architects’ efforts. But having said that, Aravena’s building (at least in these images) looks like a collapsed tiki hut. The SANAA structure reminds me of a laboratory purification filter. But hey, who knows. Maybe that’s what they were going for.

  • One

    Well may be SANAA is in short of new idea. But soething tells me that better wait and see it in real.

  • Simões

    Morais estou contigo!!!
    Siza is the man and zumthor too!!!

  • Enrique B.

    Aravena un maestro y SANAA es Dios. ¡Quiero ver planimetría de estas obras!!!

  • How many buildings are in the factory complex of Vitra (Vitra Campus)

  • stephan

    I think the SANAA bulinding is really interesting, its perfect for the use it has so what do you want? pretty bulidings which can’t be used for what they are made for?