Wednesday, 24 February 2010

VitraHaus - Herzog & de Meuron

Photos: Iwan Baan

The Basel based architects Herzog & de Meuron greatly enriched the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, where architectural icons such as Siza, Gehry, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid carried out some of their most expressive works. Herzog & de Meuron’s stacked archetypical houses are the new domicile for Vitra’s Home Collection and will from now on be open Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. “The concept of the VitraHaus connects two themes that appear repeatedly in the oeuvre of Herzog & de Meuron: the theme of the archetypal house and the theme of stacked volumes. In Weil am Rhein, it was especially appropriate to return to the idea of the ur -house, since the primary purpose of the five-storey building is to present furnishings and objects for the home. Due to the proportions and dimensions of the interior spaces – the architects use the term ‘domestic scale’ – the showrooms are reminiscent of familiar residential settings. The individual ‘houses’, which have the general characteristics of a display space, are conceived as abstract elements. With just a few exceptions, only the gable ends are glazed, and the structural volumes seem to have been shaped with an extrusion press. Stacked into a total of five storeys and breathtakingly cantilevered up to fifteen metres in some places, the twelve houses, whose floor slabs intersect the underlying gables, create a three-dimensional assemblage – a pile of houses that, at first glance, has an almost chaotic appearance.”

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