Vitra Fire Station

Weil am Rhein, Germany

Vitra Fire Station (1991-1993) in Weil am Rhein, Germany, was Zaha Hadid’s first completed building. Commissioned by Rolf Fehlbaum for the Campus of the Vitra Furniture Company, a hotbed of experimentation for new architects and designers at the time, the building took into account the entire edge of the site. It defined the landscape through the corridor-like trajectory of concrete shards that collide to become the fire station’s form.  

Vitra Fire Station, Corridor (1991-1993) shows the building’s perpendicular orientation to the site, exploding its concrete and glass screening walls into a stylized abstraction that recalls the liberation from the plane found in Suprematist paintings by Kazimir Malevich. Its dynamism reflects the building’s function, capturing the urgency of the fire service’s response. 

Vita Fire Station marked the culmination of many of Hadid’s ideas that had been explored in painting, but were yet to be fully realised. Its use of layering and puncturing fragments harks back to her association with so-called ‘deconstructivist architecture’, particularly The Peak (1982-1983), which likewise sliced through the landscape. Both projects energised new possibilities in architectural form.