A benchmark of modern architecture
© Pepo Segura
© Pepo Segura
© Rafa Vargas
This building, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, as the national pavilion of Germany for the 1929 Universal Exposition, has inspired generations of architects and is considered to have marked the start of modern 20th-century architecture. You can now enjoy it once again thanks to its reconstruction in the 1980s.
Why visit the Barcelona Pavilion?
The current building is a replica of the pavilion that represented the progressive and democratic Germany of the Weimar Republic at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. The building was designed to host the official reception presided by King Alfonso XIII with the German authorities.
The original pavilion was disassembled at the end of the exposition, in 1930, but as it was recognised as a key piece of 20th-century architecture, it was reconstructed in the 1980s at its original location next to the Magic Fountain.
The pavilion is in line with the German architect’s maxim of ‘less is more’. He sought to achieve a complete fusion of spaces and put an end to the rigidity of the differentiation between the inside and the outside. Built in glass, steel and various types of marble, the importance of the building lies in the ideal of modernity expressed by the arrangement of these materials: perfect symmetry, open spaces, the precision of distances and minimalism.
The effect is completed with the Georg Kolbe sculpture, "Morning", which is strategically located at one end of the pond. The pavilion is also home to the Barcelona chair, which Mies van der Rohe designed specifically for the occasion. Made in leather with a metallic profile, it has become one of the icons of modern design.
For the most curious of you
- Did you know? The pavilion is considered to be one of the four canonical pieces of the modern architecture movement, along with the Bauhaus building by Walter Gropius, Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier and Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Local’s tip: The pavilion is now managed by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, which organises guided visits.
- A must: For those interested in the architectural movements of the 20th century.