Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vitra Fire Station

Weil am Rhein, Germany 1990–1994

PROGRAM: Fire Station

CLIENT     : Rolf Fehlbaum
                 Vitra International AG
                 Klunefeldstrasse 22
                 CH-4127 Biersfelden

SIZE          : 852 m²

We initiated our design with a study of the overall factory site. Our intention was to place the elements of our commission in such a way that they would not be lost between the enormous factory sheds. We also used these elements to structure the whole site, giving identity and rhythm to the main street running through the complex. This street – which stretches from the chair museum to the other end of the factory site, where the fire station is now located, was envisaged as a linear landscaped zone, almost as if it were the artificial extension of the linear patterns of the adjacent agricultural fields and vineyards. Thus, rather than designing the building as an isolated object, it was developed as the outer edge of the landscaped zone: defining space rather than occupying space. This was achieved by stretching the programme into a long, narrow building alongside the street which marks the edge of the factory site, and which also functions as a screening device against the bordering buildings.

The space-defining and screening functions of the building were the point of departure for the development of the architectural concept: a linear, layered series of walls. The programme of the fire station inhabits the spaces between these walls, which puncture, tilt and break according to functional requirements. The building is hermetic from a frontal reading, revealing the interiors only from a perpendicular viewpoint.


DESIGN: Zaha Hadid
PROJECT ARCHITECT: Patrik Schumacher
DESIGN TEAM: Simon Koumjian, Edgar Gonzalez, Kar Wha Ho, Voon Yee-Wong, Craig Kiner, Cristina Verissimo, Maria Rossi, Daniel R. Oakley, Nicola Cousins, David Gomersall, Olaf Weishaupt
MODELS: Daniel Chadwick, Tim Price


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