Conference Pavilion, Vitra Campus--page 1 (of three pages)

Tadeo Ando

Tadeo Ando won the Pritzker prize in 1995 so his choice for a commissioned building was prescient on the part of the Vitra firm. Presently 7 Pritzker laureates have designed buildings for the campus (although admittedly Piano's contribution is small). Ando's conference center is much smaller than the production facilities and perhaps smaller even than Hadid's Fire Station. But it has an outsized effect of calm and meditation. His first building outside of his native Japan, it recalls traditional structures there. One approaches the building by a narrow path (wide enough only for one person) which is meant to recall the meditation paths in Japanese monasteries. A two-storey structure with one story underground, it has a below-grade courtyard.

The path leads to a small front door. In order to meet safety and handicapped codes, a larger door is to the right.
Like most of his buildings, this conference pavilion is constructed of carefully finished concrete. (See, for example, his buildings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.)
Ando kept as many existing cherry trees as possible since they have a traditional value in Japan; however, three couldn't be saved. The leaf impression in the concrete serves to recall their memory.

The back of the conference pavilion (which faces, more or less, the campus proper)

Works Cited or Consulted:
Mateo Kries, ed. The Vitra Campus Architecture Design Industry. Vitra Design Museum, 2014.

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© 2015 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site) and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.