Flying over to Germany for a day trip can be hard work. For sure it will always be a long day with a very early alarm. But it doesn’t always mean you get to see much beside airports and meeting rooms. So, the day trip to Weil am Rhein this week was a pleasant change. Yes, the meeting we had lasted most of the day. But in between wrapping up the meeting and heading back to the airport, we had an hour spare and where offered a quick tour around the Vitra Campus. So, let me tell you what to see and do at the Vitra Campus, even if you only have limited time.
Have you heard of Weil am Rhein before? Well chances are, if you have heard of it, it was probably in conjunction with the Vitra Campus. Even further, chances are you are in one way or another linked with architecture or interior design.
To be honest, Weil am Rhein isn’t the biggest town in Germany and if it wasn’t for Vitra, I probably wouldn’t have heard of it either.
So what is the Vitra Campus?
Vitra and some of their subsidiaries have offices and production facilities in Weil am Rhein. But instead of a box-standard production plant, Vitra decided to use world-famous architects to create buildings that aren’t just functioning but are also visually pleasing and unique. So if you get a chance, why not go and have a look for yourself? You can book different tours to see the grounds and buildings, as well as visit the museum and its exhibitions.
Since time was limited, we did not get to see everything, only a little glimpse.
What to see and do at the Vitra Campus: The Fire Station by Zaha Hadid
The Fire Station was Zaha Hadid’s first building, back in 1993. Until then she had designed many buildings for competitions, but never actually got a chance to build them.
Unfortunately, the fire station isn’t actually in use anymore. But that doesn’t make the building less striking.
The Vitra Schaudepot by Herzog & De Meuron (2016)
The Factory Building by SANAA (2012)
This building doesn’t look at all like a factory building. For a starter, it isn’t a rectangular box, but a cylinder. And it has a wavy, bright white façade.
In terms of buildings, that was unfortunately all we saw. We didn’t even get the time to go for the most famous of them all, the Vitra Design Museum by Frank O’Gehry from 1989.
Other buildings on display include:
- Factory Buildings by Frank Gehry and Nicholas Grimshaw
- The Conference Pavilion by Tadao Ando
- The Vitra Haus
To name just a few.
One thing we did find time for during our visit was the
Vitra Slide Tower by Carsten Höller
When it comes to what to see and do at the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, the Vitra Slide Tower surely is one of the most memorable and fun things.
The Slide Tower is free of charge and open to the public. Just grab a sliding bag, climb up the stairs to the viewing platform (approx. 17m above ground), wait for the green light and have a go. Truth to be told, at first, I didn’t want to go down the slide. But in the end, I did go AND it was fun.
As we only had about an hour for the tour, we barely scratch the surface. The Vitra Campus for sure is every architect’s dream, so I do hope I manage to go back and take a longer tour soon.
Have you been? Did you like it? Which building did you enjoy most?