Vitra Conference Pavilion
D-79576 Weil am Rhein

Tadao Ando 1993

Vitra, the furniture company, have turned to a variety of major architects to design the buildings making up their manufacturing site near Basel, close to the German/Swiss/French border. As well as Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, Alvaro Siza, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Zaha Hadid are all represented, in a cross between an industrial plant and a model village.

Tadao Ando's first building outside Japan, the austere and elegantly proportioned conference pavilion is a deliberate contrast to the flamboyance of Gehry's neighboring design museum. One story of the two-story building is below ground level, facilitating the building's minimal, low profile.


Simon Glynn 2001, updated 2008


How to visit

To see the interior of the pavilion (which is most of it, since it is partly below ground), you must take Vitra's 2-hour guided architectural tour (in German), which covers the various 'designer buildings' on their site. For groups, you can arrange in advance private tours in German, English, French or Italian. Tours are provided Tuesdays to Sundays.

For details and times call the neighboring Vitra Design Museum on 
+49 7621 702 3200, email, or visit (select Vitra Design Museum, not the one in Berlin).

Vitra is in Germany, but the closest city is Basel in Switzerland. By car, from Frieburg (North) or Basel (South) take the autobahn A5 (exit Weil am Rhein, then signposted). From France/St Louis take the border crossing Palmrain. From Lörrach/Riehen turn west at the junction marked 'Weil am Rhein' just North of the Fondation Beyeler

By public transport from Basel, take bus number 55 which stops right outside the museum at the entrance to the Vitra site. Or from the train station in Weil am Rhein it is a 15-minute walk.

Books and other web sites

Illustrations and brief information (in English) about the architecture at the Vitra site is provided at Vitra's web site


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