WEIL AM RHEIN, Germany — About a week ago we showcased Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron’s redesign for the Tate Modern’s Switch House. It was a stunning spire of brick that owned and adapted its industrial roots to marvelous effect.
The studio recently completed work on the VitraHaus design museum in Weil am Rhein Germany. It is similar to the Tate if only for its monolithic brick presence. The studio opted for red bricks this time around.
Vitra, a Swiss company, works in the fields of interior, furniture and accessories design. The gallery, referred to as the VitraHaus campus, includes more than 7,000 pieces of furniture as well as the estates of designers Verner Panton and Charles and Ray Eames. The collection has pieces that date back to the 1800s. It has space for permanent and temporary exhibitions and will also serve as a studio and warehouse for the company.
Like the Tate extension, this building also has its roots in industrial use. The studio told Dezeen that the basement originally sat underneath a sawtooth-profile factory building. Herzog’s treatment of the location was a little different, though. Instead of iterating on the site’s past, the architects instead opted to make something that “betrayed little of its origin: its period or the architects behind it.”
The bricks have very little variation in tone, giving the facade a uniform red colouring. But they are made by hand rather than machine, creating a subtle texture that the architects describe as a “unique fracture pattern.”
The building is the newest addition to Vitra’s growing collection of facilities on the campus. The company’s buildings feature architecture by Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and SANAA. Collectively, the campus sounds like a great way to kill an afternoon.
“’Visitors arriving from the train and tram station nearby will be greeted in future by a slightly raised, generously spaced plaza with the entrance to the Vitra Schaudepot and the adjoining Depot Deli,’ said Andreas Fries, the partner in charge of the project.”
Do you love or loathe this contemporary brick architecture? Let us know in the comments.