Yesterday I visited the VitraHaus which was designed by Herzog & De Meuron in Weil am Rhein in Germany, next to Basel.
The design features stacked logs that are shaped like long houses.
You can find some 200+ images on my flickr site.
The appearing simple gesture of stacking results in a fairly complex spatial sequence of rooms, each representing a house of their own. The buildings programme is to house the furniture factory Vitra's showroom of available furniture, especially their signature design stools and chairs, hence the building is called VitraHaus (house). The upper three floors and their mezzanines function therefore as galleries with a distict hous-y and cozy feeling, each of the floors, respecitvely houses, has a large glazed front looking at the surrounding landscape and Vitra factory. The ground floor houses Vitra's design museum shop and a café. Once the potential customer has been equipped with a personal card that allows one to access data on the furniture all over the house on interactive panels, you go to the fourth floor and then walk down through the various houses via spiraling staircases.
The building is located on the sprawling Vitra campus, which hosts the Vitra Design Museum and the Vitra factory. Vitra has comissioned architects since the 1980's to design factory buildings (Alvaro Siza, Nicolas Grimshaw, Frank Gehry), Galleries (Frank gehry and now H&deM), a conference center (Tadao Ando) and a fire house (Zaha Hadid's first built project). This year a new factory building by Sanaa will be unveiled.