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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany by Zaha Hadid

February 24th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

More projects by Zaha Hadid

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.


  • ARCHITECT: Zaha Hadid Architects
  • PROGRAM: Fire Station
  • CLIENT: Rolf Fehlbaum, Vitra International AG, Klunefeldstrasse 22, CH-4127 Biersfelden, SUISSE
  • Design: Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher
  • 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
  • Local Architect: Roland Mayer [Lorrach, Germany]
  • SIZE/AREA: 852 m2

Night View

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 firestation 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.

Front View

As one passes across the spaces of the firestation, one catches glimpses of the large red fire engines. Their lines of movement are inscribed into the asphalt. Similarly, the ritualized exercises of the firemen will be inscribed into the ground; a series of choreographic notations. The whole building is movement, frozen. It expresses the tension of being on the alert; and the potential to explode into action at any moment. The walls appear to slide past each other, while the large sliding doors literally form a moving wall. The whole building is constructed of exposed, reinforced in-situ concrete. Special attention was given to the sharpness of all edges; any attachments like roof edgings or claddings were avoided as they distract from the simplicity of the prismatic form and the abstract quality of the architectural concept. This same absence of detail informed the frameless glazing, the large sliding planes enclosing the garage, and the treatment of the interior spaces including the lighting scheme. The lines of light direct the necessarily precise and fast movement through the building.

Interior View

Interior View

Interior View

Interior View

Interior View

Interior View

Interior View

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Categories: Fire Station, Zaha Hadid

One Response to “Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany by Zaha Hadid”

  1. Azadeh says:

    Thank you so much for your good information and perfect photos.
    Could you please tell me how I can get more photos from this project?

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