The house that we all designed as kids but you do not know that it exists in real life.

Vitra House, Germany

The Vitra house built by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in the German suburb of Basel between 2005 and 2010. In 1957, Willy and Erika Fehlbaum a couple of Swiss entrepreneurs buy to the American creators Charles and Ray Eames the right to edit and market in Europe.

Over the years, they will construct seven factory buildings designed by great architects, a collection of contemporary architecture that includes the Buckminster Fuller Dome and the Jean Prové gas station and Frank Gehry Vitra design museum in a unique industrial site in the world.

It welcomes more than one hundred thousand visitors per year, a success that the new director Rolf fehlbaum wants to extend when he launches his new collection of furniture for the home in 2004, home collection, he decides to build a building that will be the embassy of the brand Vitra, it will be a museum, shop, and showroom.

The architects Herzog & de Meuron were given the job while they started to be famous by building Beijing national stadium, 2001 they received Pritzker price, during the first meeting, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron draw a stack of German houses.

For once in the history of the architect, the constructed building resembles the first drawing of a house, that of houses with roofs pointed with two-slope with the same family is not the same disposition.

Twelve houses all different each has a length a height a different roof design, twelve houses stacked on top of each other, the architects compared their ideas to models in real volume, the only way to visualize the accumulation, the superposition and the interlocking

Vitra house model

The Vitra house is in a single anthracite color, a single color for the whole building nothing disturbs the design of the pointed roofs, neither windows nor chimneys nor external stairs, an unprecedented combination where the volumes pierce each other, no display of efforts all in the air posed in simple balance.

In a traditional house, there are walls a wooden frame a facade with doors and windows a tiled roof,  in Vitra house everything is in concrete, the walls are more than 30 cm thick, with a reinforcing bar with a large diameter

embedding volumes

Each box of concrete rests on a box of concrete, but making all the weight bear on a thin ridgeline at the top of the pointed roof is impossible, the embedding solve the difficulty, each house rests on the two parallel walls of the house below, it is the only constructive principle, floor after floor, the embedding compacts the volumes.

Regarding access, we pass between the volumes on the ground floor and under the volumes on the first floor, the visitor accesses a large square, it is a waiting room, a meeting place, and a crossroads both inside and outside, a circular sliding doors indicates the real entrance that we are in the middle of the building, in the open air under a large hole and drawn by the crossing of the long volumes of the upper floors placed on top of each other.

Red for elevator path and blus for stairs

The Vitra house has an elevator and an emergency staircase, the elevator is placed from the only vertical axis of the building, the emergency staircase draws an inverse figure with a surprising path, floor after floor, to follow each volume disposition.