Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – The Barcelona Pavilion
Barcelona, Catalonia – Spain
The Barcelona Pavilion (Catalan: Pavelló alemany; Spanish: Pabellón alemán; “German Pavilion”), designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, was the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain.
This building was used for the official opening of the German section of the exhibition.
It is an important building in the history of modern architecture, known for its simple form and its spectacular use of extravagant materials, such as marble, red onyx and travertine.
The same features of minimalism and spectacular can be applied to the furniture specifically designed for the building, including the Barcelona chair. It has inspired many important modernist buildings.
Mies wanted this building to become “an ideal zone of tranquillity” for the weary visitor, who should be invited into the pavilion on the way to the next attraction. Since the pavilion lacked a real exhibition space, the building itself was to become the exhibit. The pavilion was designed to “block” any passage through the site, rather, one would have to go through the building. Visitors would enter by going up a few stairs, and due to the slightly sloped site, would leave at ground level in the direction of the Poble Espanyol.
The Pavilion was not only a pioneer for construction forms with a fresh, disciplined understanding of space, but also for modelling new opportunities for an association of free art and architecture.
Mies placed Georg Kolbe’s Alba (“Dawn”) in the small water basin, leaving the larger one all the more empty.
he chose the place where these optical effects would have the strongest impact; the building offers multiple views of Alba.
Between 1983 and 1986, a group of Catalan architects reconstructed the pavilion permanently, based on historical drawings and rediscovered footings on the site. The reconstruction has been a popular tourist destination, but it also has been controversial among architects, critics, and historians.
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