German Pavilion at the 1929
Av. Marquès de Comillas
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The original 1929 pavilion
building, despite its enormous influence on the emerging International
Style of architecture, was demolished the year after the International
Exhibition when nobody wanted to buy it from the German Government. It was
recreated in its original form and on the same site in 1981-1986 by the
Barcelona City Council.
Kenneth Frampton describes the
'ambivalent and ineffable quality of its spatial and material form...
Certain displacements in its volume were brought about by illusory surface
readings such as that effected by the use of green tinted glass screens,
to emerge as the mirror equivalents of the main bounding planes. These
planes, faced in polished green Tinian marble, in their turn reflected the
highlights of the chromium vertical glazing bars holding the glass in
place. A comparable play in terms of texture and color was effected by the
contrast between the internal core plane of polished onyx... and the long
travertine wall that flanked the main terrace with its large reflecting
pool. Here, bounded by travertine and agitated by the wind, the broken
surface of the water distorted the mirror image of the building. In
contrast to this, the internal space of the pavilion, modulated by columns
and mullions, terminated in an enclosed court, containing a reflecting
pool lined with black glass.'
Despite its apparently simple
rectangular plan, there are almost no corners in the building, or anything
that might suggest you are in a box. The generous canopy roof, walls that
stop well short of abutting one another, and the floor-to-ceiling glazing
break down the distinction between inside and outside. Even the doors are
in the form of two halves of an all-glass wall, which rotate not about
hinges at their edges, but about a pivot in the floor and ceiling a few
inches from the edge: the result is that when opened through ninety
degrees each door becomes just another freestanding, parallel glass plane
in keeping with the other planes defining the spaces in the building.
Along with Mies 1965 Neue Nationalgalerie
in Berlin, the pavilion is considered one of the foremost examples
of structural abstraction emblematic of the International Style.
Simon Glynn, 2001
How to visit
The pavilion is close to the magic
fountain in the 1929 exhibition complex, which is a short walk down Avinguda
de la Reina Maria Cristina from the Plaça d'Espanya. Metro lines 1 and 3 to
The pavilion is open to the public
daily between 10am and 8pm.
To check opening times telephone
+34 93 423 4016.
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