Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona

The Barcelona Pavilion was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the German National Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, held on Montjuïc. After the closure of the Exhibition, the Pavilion was disassembled in 1930.

In 1980 Oriol Bohigas, as head of the Urban Planning Department at the Barcelona City Council, set the project in motion, designating architects Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Cristian Cirici and Fernando Ramos to research, design and supervise the reconstruction of the Pavilion. Work began in 1983 and the new building was opened on its original site in 1986.

Glass, steel and four different kinds of marble (Roman travertine, green Alpine marble, ancient green marble from Greece and golden onyx from the Atlas Mountains) were used for the reconstruction, all of the same characteristics and provenance as the ones originally employed by Mies in 1929.

The Barcelona chair”: Mies van der Rohe designed a chair, especially for the Pavilion, consisting of a leatherupholstered metallic profile that over the years has become an icon of modern design. 

The sculpture is a bronze reproduction of the piece entitled Alba (Dawn) by Georg Kolbe. Masterfully placed at one end of the small pond, the sculpture is reflected not only in the water but also in the marble and glass, thereby creating the sensation that it is multiplied in space, while its curves contrast with the geometrical purity of the building.

As time went by, the Pavilion became a key point of reference not only in Mies van der Rohe's own career but also in twentieth-century architecture as a whole.

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