04 Dec Barcelona: Mies van der Rohe
The Germain Pavilion was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929. The original pavilion was dissembled in 1930 and reconstructed in 1980s. It’s one of the most studied and iconic modern architecture in history. For architectural nerds like us (Will to be exact), it’s the modern design pilgrimage that he must make.
Key of Mie’s design is to blur the exterior and interior space – create an ultimate floating illusion of structure . Pavilion has a sleek horizontal volume with low flat roof supported by eight cruciform steel columns that creates an appearance of floating over the interior volume while the interior space can be wide open.
The pavilion was constructed with glass, steel and natural stones (travertine, marble, and onyx). The pools were meant to elongate volume and reflect light source to illuminate the marble. Needless to say the stones were perfectly chosen and crafted to match the vine and pattern.
Focus of the exhibition is the building, you will only see the Barcelona Chair and the sculpture – Georg Korbe’s Alba. With its wide open space and few wall divisions, visitors were directed to see the Chair first, then the sculpture and so on. The walls were meant for directing traffic and flow, not only for dividing space.
The Barcelona Chair
Mies van der Rohe also designed the Barcelona Chair particularly for the pavilion. You would recognize the iconic design right away as it’s considered as one of the most widely recognized and manufactured designer chairs.
Don’t you agree the building is the perfect case study of modernity and “less is more”?