D-79576 Weil am Rhein
Country: Germany (Duitsland)
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Build year: 1994
The Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein was the first project of Zaha Hadid's. The relatively small structure serves as a showcase for the unusual shapes and angles that architectural critics had admired in her conceptual work throughout the 1980's, with un-built projects such as her winning entry for the Peak International Design Competition for Hong Kong in 1983.
It was constructed with a working firehouse within the Vitra furniture design and manufacturing complex (it needed such a structure after a fire some years earlier), the building was intended to serve all of Vitra's buildings which at the time fell outside the range of neighboring fire districts. The firehouse became a part of Vitra's program of building structures by world renowned architects, including Tadao Ando's Conference Pavilion, Frank Gehry's Design Museum and Alvaro Siza's Production Hall.
The firehouse was in use by volunteers who worked in the Vitra factory. The building functioned as a firehouse until the fire district lines were re-drawn and the Vitra complex was finally covered by a nearby fire department. This made the building partially obsolete, and it was for this reason (and not the rumored error on Hadid's part of not allowing enough room in the building to house fire trucks) that the building is now used by Vitra as a showplace for part of its permanent collection of chairs.