German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exhibition
Av. Marquès de Comillas
08038 Barcelona

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 Espanya station.

The pavilion is open to the public daily between 10am and 8pm. 

To check opening times telephone +34 93 423 4016.

Books and other web sites

Click the book title to view and to order direct from


0226740609_m.gif (13814 bytes) Mies van der Rohe: A critical biography
Franz Schulze


0393315045_m.gif (5721 bytes) The Master Builders: Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright
Peter Blake

A highly readable introduction.


The Mies van der Rohe Foundation maintains the building, and also its official website at 

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