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Denial over renovation work to Hadid's first built scheme

Furniture designer and manufacturer Vitra has denied that its Zaha Hadid-designed fire station in Weil am Rhein, Germany, is undergoing major renovation works.

A concerned visitor to the complex contacted the AJ and described how the 13-year-old building - Hadid's first built scheme - was completely obscured by scaffolding.

Architectural writer Sutherland Lyall said: 'When I asked the guide, who up until then had spoken perfect English, what was happening to the building, she went into existential mode and said 'the scaffold is there'.'

'Then all of a sudden she could no longer speak English and I was ignored,' added Lyall.

Originally constructed as a working firehouse within the Vitra complex, the building slotted in next to others in the complex, including Tadao Ando's Conference Pavilion, Frank Gehry's Design Museum and lvaro Siza's Production Hall.

Eventually the Vitra complex was covered by a nearby fire department and the building is now used as a showplace for part of the manufacturer's permanent collection of chairs.

Hadid's office was unavailable for comment, but a spokesperson from Vitra denied there was anything amiss with the fire station: 'The building is 13 years old and is just having a polish and spring clean.'

But Lyall countered: 'The scaffold looked like it had been there for some time. It was all the same colour - the poles and scaffold clips had moulded into one.'

by Max Thompson

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