Tsuyoshi Tane: The Garden House

© vitra / atta, photo: julien lanoo

Vitra Design Museum
Until May 26, 2024

The presentation “Tsuyoshi Tane: The Garden House” at the Vitra Design Museum Gallery is dedicated to the recently constructed Tane Garden House on the Vitra Campus. With a footprint of barely 15 square meters, the house combines a rooftop viewing platform for Campus visitors and a meeting room for the gardeners who tend the grounds. Tsuyoshi Tane understood that this project was small in scale, but large in meaning. This is reflected in the Japanese architect’s unique design approach, which is based on an intensive research process that explores the local context in order to utilize traditional handicrafts as well as regional resources. The exhibition, which was conceived by the architect, presents study models, architectural mock-ups and drawings of the building, along with impressions of the close collaboration with local artisans.

The idea to build a garden house on the Vitra Campus was initiated by Vitra Chairman Emeritus Rolf Fehlbaum. In a 2020 message to Tane, Fehlbaum wrote: “The Oudolf Garten and the Tane Garden House will be the first manifestations of the increasing awareness of climate change on the Vitra Campus. It is therefore essential that the Garden House – in terms of material, construction, and way of being used – meets high standards of sustainability.”

Tane uses the term “above ground” to describe his approach to the project, questioning the overuse of “underground resources” as a standard in our building culture. The use of renewable above-ground materials such as thatch and wood was partially inspired by historic buildings in the Swiss open-air museum Ballenberg, and Tane collaborated with local craftspeople to implement this project with regional materials and building techniques. As someone who puts great emphasis on the importance of neighborhood networks, Tsuyoshi Tane sought out artisans in the vicinity, whom he refers to as “neighbors.”