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  7. AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe
AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe, © Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

© Flickr User: gondolas © Gili Merin © Gili Merin plan +23

From the architect. As part of the1929 International Exposition in Barcelona Spain, the Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Mies van der Rohe, was the display of architecture's modern movement to the world.  Originally named the German Pavilion, the pavilion was the face of Germany after WWI, emulating the nation’s progressively modern culture that was still rooted in its classical history. Its elegant and sleek design combined with rich natural material presented Mies’ Barcelona Pavilion as a bridge into his future career, as well as architectural modernism.

More on the Barcelona Pavilion after the break.

© Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

After several architectural triumphs in Germany, Mies was commissioned to design the German Pavilion for the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain.  The pavilion was intended to be the face of the German section that would host King Alphonso XIII of Spain and German officials at the inauguration of the exposition.  Unlike other pavilions at the exposition, Mies understood his pavilion simply as a building and nothing more, it would not house art or sculpture rather the pavilion would be a place of tranquility and escape from the exposition, in effect transforming the pavilion into an inhabitable sculpture.

© Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

Situated at the foot of the National Art Museum of Catalonia and Montjuic, the Barcelona Pavilion resides on a narrow site in a quiet tucked away corner secluded from the bustling city streets of Barcelona.  Raised on a plinth of travertine, the Barcelona Pavilion separates itself from it context create atmospheric and experiential effects that seem to occur in a vacuum that dissolves all consciousness of the surrounding city.

plan
plan

The pavilion’s design is based on a formulaic grid system developed by Mies that not only serves as the patterning of the travertine pavers, but it also serves as an underlying framework that the wall systems work within.  By raising the pavilion on a plinth in conjunction with the narrow profile of the site, the Barcelona Pavilion has a low horizontal orientation that is accentuated by the low flat roof that appears to float over both the interior as well as the exterior.

© Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

The low stature of the building narrows the visitor’s line of vision forcing one to adjust to the views framed by Mies.  When walking up onto the plinth, one is forced under the low roof plane that captures the adjacent outdoor court as well as the interior moments that induce circulation throughout the pavilion. The interior of the pavilion consists of offset wall places that work with the low roof plane to encourage movement, as well as activate Mies’ architectural promenade where framed views would induce movement through the narrow passage that would open into a larger volume. This cyclical process of moving throughout the pavilion sets in motion a process of discovery and rediscovery during ones experience; always offering up new perspectives and details that were previously unseen.

© Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

Every aspect of the Barcelona Pavilion has architectural significance that can be seen at the advent of modern architecture in the 20th Century; however, one of the most important aspects of the pavilion is the roof.  The low profile of the roof appears in elevation as a floating plane above the interior volume.  The appearance of floating gives the volume a sense of weightlessness that fluctuates between enclosure and canopy. The roof structure is supported by eight slender cruciform columns that allow the roof to as effortlessly floating above the volume while freeing up the interior to allow for an open plan.  With the low roof projecting out over the exterior and the openness of the pavilion, there is a blurred spatial demarcation where ht interior becomes and exterior and exterior becomes interior.

© Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

The pavilion is designed as a proportional composition where the interior of the pavilion is juxtaposed to two reflecting pools. The smaller reflecting pool is located directly behind the interior space which allows for light to filter through the interior volume as well illuminate the marble and travertine pavers.  The larger, shallow reflecting pool compliments the volume as it stretches across the rest of the plinth.  Its elegance and sleek lines establish a place of solitude and reflection.

© Greg Kristo
© Greg Kristo

In addition to the design, the materials are what give the Barcelona Pavilion its true architectural essence as well as the ethereal and experiential qualities that the pavilion embodies.  The pavilion meshes the man-made and the natural employing four types of marble, steel, chrome, and glass.  The marble originates from the Swiss Alps and the Mediterranean.  Mies’ implementation of the marble is created through a process of splitting, called broaching, that creates a symmetrical patternization that’s found in the marble.  However, the most used material is the Italian travertine that wraps the plinth and the exterior walls adjacent to the reflecting pool.  When exposed to the sun, the travertine becomes illuminated almost as a secondary light source that dissolves the natural stone and washes the light over the space.  The travertine’s inherent luminous qualities as well as Mies’ seamless employment of the material over the plinth adds to the dissolution of spatial demarcation transforming the pavilion into one continuous volume rather than two separate entities.

In 1930, the original Barcelona Pavilion was dismantled after the International Exposition was over; however; in 1983 a group of Catalan architects began working on rebuilding the pavilion from photographs and what little salvaged drawings that remained.  Today it is open daily and can be seen in the same location as in 1929.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Andrew Kroll. "AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe" 08 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/109135/ad-classics-barcelona-pavilion-mies-van-der-rohe/>
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83 Comments

sajed · December 20, 2012

like

Mike Bond · September 16, 2012

Very cool renderings! :J

Richard Peck · June 22, 2012

Having walked through it, I found it bleak. Some irreverent wag wrote on the guestbook "Less is bore!"

ModernFurnishn · June 22, 2012

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://t.co/xW1pRC2F

david salvador · June 21, 2012

y este es el famoso Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/YlWzirCC via @archdaily

vadim mishchuk · May 15, 2012

Oh my this is what you call sexy architecture. #miesvanderrohe #barcelonapavillion #favoritearchitecture
http://t.co/uEAHChqk via @archdaily

Rawan YAssin · March 27, 2012

Barcelona Pavillion by Mies van der Rohe ... elegance epitomised
http://t.co/zrwXhCIg via @archdaily

Rafael B. · March 27, 2012

Outro. Detalhe: Não é o original. Foi re-erguido. http://t.co/iKr8Guoi

TC · March 27, 2012

Nice piece on Mies van der Rohe&#39s beautiful Barcelona Pavilion: http://t.co/TnOQoHiR via @Joe380

Ileana Ion · March 27, 2012

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/7ORG87Pc via @archdaily

Xella Ro · March 27, 2012

Mies van der Rohe: “Less is more” http://t.co/o73SNR6E

Katy Stoddard · March 27, 2012

When ppl say go to your happy place, this is mine RT @Joe380: @shivmalik1 Love the Barcelona Pavillion http://t.co/fu2UC9Ro

Matt Cavanagh · March 27, 2012

Nice piece on Mies van der Rohe&#39s beautiful Barcelona Pavilion: http://t.co/TnOQoHiR via @Joe380

Shiv Malik · March 27, 2012

@shivmalik1 Love the Barcelona Pavillion http://t.co/KUhO0K97

Joe O'Brien · March 27, 2012

@shivmalik1 Love the Barcelona Pavillion http://t.co/KUhO0K97

Karlson Architecture · March 27, 2012

On this day in 1886, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Germany. Headed the IIT arch dept in Chicago. http://t.co/jbHEFWvs

Sannah Ejaz · March 27, 2012

God is in the detail. Happy Birthday. #miesvanderrohe #architecture #archdail http://t.co/hr9yFLwp via

Claudia de la Motte · March 09, 2012

A beautiful 1:200 model due of this Monday. :) http://t.co/sYMEnuHe

Anna Wojciechowska · February 06, 2012

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/uAGYKxks via @archdaily

jorge alberto · February 04, 2012

nice article: http://ow.ly/5wTbN
enjoy Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv

Phillip Kelly-Ayo · January 26, 2012

@glennmc I would love to see your response to a building like Mies van der Rohe&#39s Barcelona Pavilion for example http://t.co/paQKP9TO

Amelia Demicoli · December 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/z40FKJkm via @archdaily ... :D @callumldraper

Karyl Tan · November 29, 2011
Alejandro Tramullas · September 23, 2011

Veure un Alfa Romeo dintre l&#39estany del pavelló alemany.....

http://t.co/pCq2j3oI

http://t.co/X4JuCONG vía @archdaily

Alejandro Tramullas · September 23, 2011

Veure un Alfa Romeo dintre l&#39estany del pavelló alemany.....

http://t.co/pCq2j3oI

http://t.co/X4JuCONG vía @archdaily

eder vendramel · August 08, 2011

Design Imortal...
http://t.co/MBdAY8F

architecture 8 · August 07, 2011

One of our favorites! Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe http://t.co/gQYR80K @archdaily "a bridge into his future career..."

Josep Lluis de BCN · August 02, 2011

“@BauhausCenter: nice article: http://t.co/2er6LgV
enjoy Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv”Brutal!!!

Quim Monzó · August 01, 2011

nice article: http://ow.ly/5wTbN
enjoy Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv

Bruno Bellomo · July 11, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://t.co/4KX50iF vía @archdaily

Bauhaus Center · July 05, 2011

nice article: http://ow.ly/5wTbN
enjoy Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv

Ahti Kooskora · May 14, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/ijRbT0

Mark Gardner · March 29, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday Mies! AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/RA9S2tv via @archdaily

Lucaciu Roxana · March 25, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/N3RuJWG via @archdaily

koda design · March 14, 2011

one of the best ever!

arquiteks · February 20, 2011
arquimexico · February 20, 2011

Mies van der Rohe... http://fb.me/SmJ7vF4O

Toon · February 16, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://bit.ly/fRpLjw via @ArchDaily << classic ^^

vicalay · February 15, 2011

RT @red_wolf: Barcelona Pavilion http://goo.gl/P9xTS #architecture

Red Wolf · February 15, 2011

Barcelona Pavilion http://goo.gl/P9xTS #architecture

ilaria defilippo · February 12, 2011

#Barcelona #Pavilion by #Mies van der Rohe • http://bit.ly/eQcYYW #architecture #expo #marbles #onyx #1929 #Spain

markus sturfelt · February 10, 2011
Samuel Ludwig · February 10, 2011

I agree with you Wojtek, your newer images are considerably better.

For comprehensiveness' sake, here are my images.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?...

besseteaux · February 10, 2011

RT @urbain_: Visiter un classique architectural: le pavillon de Barcelone par Van der Rohe http://ow.ly/3SVG9 #architecture

Gidn · February 10, 2011

RT @urbain_: Visiter un classique architectural: le pavillon de Barcelone par Van der Rohe http://ow.ly/3SVG9 #architecture

URBAIN trop URBAIN · February 10, 2011

Visiter un classique architectural: le pavillon de Barcelone par Van der Rohe http://ow.ly/3SVG9 #architecture

vivipatriajaya · February 10, 2011

RT @mauroparolo: #architecture #mies http://www.archdaily.com/10913...

mauro parolo · February 10, 2011

#architecture #mies http://www.archdaily.com/10913...

leporello · February 10, 2011

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????http://t.co/1mpad76 via @archdaily

Stuart Wheeler · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://bit.ly/ifYrvS

Thomas Seear-Budd · February 10, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/2rZc4pD via @archdaily

NEXT Modern Home · February 10, 2011

RT @WesAtHome: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/2FXho9R via @archdaily

Vicens Tort Arnau · February 10, 2011
Arno M · February 10, 2011

RT @ludwigmichael: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://t.co/NxLMgao HYPE IT UP!! ?????

Mies van der Rohe · February 10, 2011

Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://t.co/NxLMgao HYPE IT UP!! ?????

Simon Droog · February 10, 2011

Still love this pavilion: elegance, proportions and minimalism. Humans have affinity for order: Barcelona Pavilion http://t.co/BK6E3ID

architecture3s · February 10, 2011

some projects are always worth the time - this is a classic...http://tinyurl.com/4pd9qgb

daqb design · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

luciana galvão · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

Nicholas Patten · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion. http://bit.ly/h69KvS

Ralph Martin Architect · February 09, 2011

Awesome photography & article!

LUDWIG Mies van der Rohe was a Master of Modern Architecture...

simondroog · February 09, 2011

Still love this pavilion: the elegance, proportions and minimalist design. Humans have an affinity for (a certain level of) order and feel proportions of the space (http://experiencingarchitectur...

vivipatriajaya · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

Eduard Lepp · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://feedly.com/k/eGvY7K

Milan Kramolis · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://www.archdaily.com/?p=10...

Milan Kramolis · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://www.archdaily.com/?p=10...

jean_doris · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

Valeria Gabarra · February 09, 2011

Missing Mies? via ArchDaily http://fb.me/GCB4dLAP

Gill+Dudwadkar Arch. · February 09, 2011

Super... AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/T406yJY #architecture #design

Gill+Dudwadkar Arch. · February 09, 2011

Super... AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://t.co/T406yJY

Wojtek Gurak · February 09, 2011

actually, I wish Andrew didn't dig out such old pics from my flickr archives. Did them over 2years ago and I totally agree that they're over-processed. like everyone, i improve with practice and experience.
Since then, I've recently redeveloped some of them in a more appropriate manner, which I refer you to at http://www.flickr.com/photos/w...

DEZIGN · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe: © Flickr User: wotjek gurakAs part of the1929 International... http://bit.ly/ifYrvS

Primera Liga · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe | ArchDaily http://ow.ly/1bfojk

bauhauscenter · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

Peter Guthrie · February 09, 2011

arrrggghhh my eyes!

Dan · February 09, 2011 02:46 PM

Some of Peters renders look less processed than these photos!

Architekt R V Scholz · February 09, 2011

#Architekt #Calau AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe: © Flickr User: wotj... http://bit.ly/ewWY4w #in http://dy.cx/c03

ricky · February 09, 2011

I wish the photos weren't so over-processed.

Oliver Olivo Batista · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

GR2TF · February 09, 2011

AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe: © Flickr User: wotjek gurakAs part of the1929 International... http://bit.ly/ifYrvS

Glauco Tonon · February 09, 2011

isso é elegância e talento “@ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture”

Rodolfo Sauma · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

Pablo Saimon Nunes · February 09, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe http://archdai.ly/h1QqS8 #architecture

v|[+0r · February 09, 2011

Pabellon de barcelona, Mies van der rohe http://j.mp/hYOEXk #arquitectura

···

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