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Vitra Fire Station

  • Weil am Rhein, Germany
  • 1990 – 1993
  • Vitra International AG
  • Built
  • 852m2

Conceived as the end-note to existing factory buildings, the Vitra Fire Station defines rather than occupies space – emerging as a linear, layered series of walls, between which program elements are contained – a representation of ‘movement frozen’ – an ‘alert’ structure, ready to explode into action at any moment.

An initial study of the Vitra factory site informed our designs for the Vitra Fire Station – a building conceived as the key element within a linear landscaped zone, the artificial extension of linear patterns in adjacent fields and vineyards – designed as a connecting unit rather than an isolated object; defining rather than occupying space.

The new fire station – long, linear, narrow – emerges as a layered series of tilted and breaking walls, between which program elements are contained within spaces visible only from a perpendicular viewpoint.

On passing, brilliant red fire vehicles are glimpsed, their lines of movement inscribed in surrounding asphalt – a visual grammar also used to inscribe the ritualized exercises completed by fire teams.

This building is ‘movement frozen’ – a vivid, lucid expression of the tensions necessary to remain ‘alert’, to explode into action as required. Walls appear to slide one across the other, main sliding doors form a ‘moving’ wall.

The whole building is constructed from exposed, reinforced in-situ concrete, marked by the sharpness of all edges and the absence of all edgings and claddings to retain the clarity and simplicity of this prismatic volume.

This same absence of detail informed the frameless glazing, the sliding planes enclosing the garage, and the treatment of the interior spaces, in which lines of light are direct, logical and precise.

Architect

ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS

Design

Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher

Project Architect

Patrik Schumacher

Project 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

Local Architect / Project Management / Construction Drawings / Building Supervision

GPF & Assoziierte