Monday, March 10, 2008

Barcelona Pavilion

The thing I wanted to see most in Barcelona was the 'Barcelona Pavilion'. I was surprised to find out that most people, including people in Barcelona, didn't even know this existed, what it was or its importance to the architectural community!
Designed by Mies van der Rohe for the Germans as their entry in the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, the pavilion had no purpose other than to entertain the king and queen of spain for 15 minutes at tea - and to represent the Germans. It was a hit! Most of the other structures built were of course very ornate and classical, but this was something new and different. Streamlined, modern, luxurious; floating plans creating sumptuous spaces. While most of the temporary buildings were fake -this was REAL - marble, travertine, steel and glass. 8 steel posts support a floating flat roof under which glass and marble walls delineate the space. This was the start of a Modern or 'international style' championed by Mies Van Der Rohe.
There are two reflecting pools -one 'interior' guarded by marble walls and visible from the main interior compartment and one larger exterior pool at the entrance. The interior reflecting pool has this beautiful sculpture in it.
serious architecture can be fun!
The extremely famous 'barcelona chair and stool' were created for this pavilion! His famous coffee table and chaise were also named 'barcelona' but were not created for this pavilion.
Barcelona chair and stool
The original was torn down at the end of the exhibition, but was so famous that in 1986 it was finally rebuilt in it's original location. In the park surrounding it are these ingenius movable pods. Some house cafes, some are information stands and other's are bathrooms. Really great design that surely would have been approved by the master, Mies van der Rohe!
some bathroom pods

6 comments:

The Peak of Chic said...

Looks like you had FUN! On my trip to Spain a few years back, I was only able to go to Madrid. I really wish we had been able to visit Barcelona too.

Be the change..... said...

I had a great time, Peak!! I was in Madrid last year for 2 weeks and loved that city too -but Barcelona is FAR more interesting even if the museums aren't as good!

Loda said...

I had no idea why the pavilion was built, I guess I was asleep during that part of History of Architecture.

Be the change..... said...

Shame shame, Loda!! It was really the only thing I knew about Barcelona truthfully -I knew nothing about Gaudi LOL. Different strokes for different folks! I prefer the square Mies to the rounded Gaudi!

pve design said...

So ahead of his time! Wonderful place. So glad that you shared this!

Patricia Gray said...

What great pictures!! I think it is amazing that this pavilion was designed in 1929 and is still contemporary by today's standards. That is the hallmark of good design.