Herzog & de Meuron just completed a new production facility for Ricola, the Swiss manufacturer of herbal cough drops and fresh mints. The new building is one of six projects designed for the company by the studio, and it’s built from rammed earth extracted from local quarries and mines.
The Kräuterzentrum, located in the Swiss town of Laufen, is made from prefabricated earth elements that were compacted into a formwork in a nearby factory and stacked on site to form walls. The new herb center is the second project by Herzog and de Meuron built in Laufen – in 1999 the architects completed the company’s marketing headquarters, which followed their design for Ricola’s storage building.
The building is designed to blend in with the atmosphere of the region, which is dominated by pathways and hedges. The architects envision it as a “geometrical segment of landscape with its dimensions and archaic impact heightened by the radical choice of material.” The monolithic building has large round windows on two of its elevations. Its first floor houses a visitor center, which welcomes guests to take a closer look at the manufacturing process taking place below.