In 1929 the International Exhibition was held in Barcelona. Representations from countries around the world attended, and many of them appeared trought their pavilions. Today, of all these pavilions we can only see some of the Spanish pavilions and the one from Germany, the Barcelona Pavilion, built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
An entrance door, or an exit door
The German pavilion had to be designed in less than a year and it was designed to house the official reception of King Alfonso XIII with German authorities.
The architect, Mies van der Rohe, and his collaborator and artistic director, Lilly Reich, rejected the original site and wanted to put it in a quieter place, at rest for the visitors.
Apart from the fact that at this point the Pavilion offers different views, it is on the way to Poble Espanyol, one of the main attractions of the 1929 International Exhibition; the building blocks the passage and visitors must pass through it.
Less is more
The walls not only create space, they direct the movement of the visitors. This is achieved because the surfaces of the walls are displaced from each other. Only the structure, without an exhibition area, was shown, because what was on display was the pavilion itself.
The entire building rests on a travertine marble surface, and the small roof slabs are supported by chrome-plated stainless steel columns that give sensation of a suspended ceiling feel.
Mies van der Rohe, who came from a marble merchant family, used high-quality stones and a chromatic variety: Roman travertine, Alps green marble, ancient Greek green marble and Algerian Atlas onyx. In addition, concrete also worked in many of its possibilities, not only as a structural element, but also for exterior details.
The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, today
The Barcelona Pavilion, as this is its official name, was disassembled in 1930, but in 1980, the municipal architect, Oriol Bohigas, promoted an initiative to rebuild it. The reconstruction was completed in 1986, the year in which the centenary of the birth of Mies van der Rohe was commemorated.
You can see the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in our tour Discovering Barcelona.
For more information you can browse in Fundacio Mies van der Rohe.