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