Vitra Design Museum, Vitra Campus

Frank Gehry

This building is located at the front of the Vitra Campus and is open to the public. Tadeo Ando's discrete Conference Pavilion is to its left and Oldenburg's brightly colored Balancing Tools is beside it. (See plan.) This museum is an early indication of the direction of his architecture, a style, usually defined as deconstructivist, which today is readily identifiable. (See index of artists/architectsfor a number of buildings spanning his career.) As his style developed, his forms became more sculptural and disconnected, sometimes with different materials or cladding. (Peter B. Lewis Building, Case Western Reserve University in metal and traditional brick.) Here, however, the materials are white plaster and a titanium-zinc alloy. This was Gehry's first building in Europe and one of the first in the style that he is famous for.

The size is modest (about 8000 square feet) with a combination of cubes, ramps, and towers in a two-story structure. Originally it was designed for Rolf Fehlbaum's private collection but today houses a very large collection of furniture, with examples from the nineteenth century and continuing into the modern era.


The front entrance


Moving around the building clockwise


Views from the back from the factory area of the campus

The Vitra Design Museum Gallery was built in 2003 as an annex to the front gate, built in 1989. Originally the Vitra Design Museum Shop was here until the opening of VitraHaus. Since then, smaller exhibits have been in the Vitra Design Museum Gallery.

The gatehouse is the entrance to the area of the Vitra Campus that is not open to the public unless one is a member of one of the architectural tours (which are well worth the money!)

Vitra Design Museum Gallery and Gate, 1989/2003


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

See also Gehry's factory building

Return to Vitra Campus Index.

See index of artists and architects for many additional buildings by Frank Gehry.

Click here to return to index of art historical sites.

Click here to return to index of artists and architects.

Click here to return to chronological index.

Click here to see the home page of Bluffton University.

© 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.