Vitra Fire Station – Zaha Hadid

The Vitra Campus is a spot which all architecture lovers should visit. So did I. In the “backlot” there is a small building that used to be the Vitra Fire Station designed by Zaha Hadid.

This was the first building designed by Zaha Hadid that was actually build full-scale. Before everybody regarded her designs as mere fantasy that could not be build.

Throughout the building, Zaha Hadid loves to play with the senses of visitors. When you are looking at the horizon from inside the building, it really is difficult to find the horizon as a straight line. It’s as if you loose connection with the world outside. Zaha Hadid carries this principle beyond its limits. It has been said that the fire fighters didn’t like the toilets because they got nauseous inside. Zaha Hadid practically told them to learn to live with it and wouldn’t compromise on her design. As a result, the building was used for only a very short period of time as an actual fire station. It wasn’t very practical. Now it is used to host events.

The design of the building really is simple, just look at this short video:

[vimeo w=600]

Viewed from the sky the building looks like this (thank you Google maps!):

Zaha Hadid - Fire Station

Near the Vitra Campus is another Zaha Hadid building: Land Formation One. I didn’t go there because I came to the Vitra Campus by bus and it was too far to walk (since it was getting darker). Some friends went there a few years later, reporting that the site was not a lovely place to see, neglected and thus in very bad shape. Sometimes time and the invasion by its natural environment can give buildings an extra glow. Maybe Zaha Hadid’s buildings only impress when they’re shiny and new? Time will tell…


Vitra Campus
Charles-Eames-Str. 2
Weil am Rhein (Germany)

You can access the building during the Architectural tour organised by the Vitra Museum.

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