The Barcelona Pavilion (German Pavilion) at Montjuic


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The Barcelona Pavilion is a symbol of modern architecture. It belongs to the Fundacio Mies van der Rohe and is located at Montjuic area. This attraction was introduced in 1983 courtesy of Barcelona City Hall. Their goal was to try to create one of the most interesting Barcelona museums dedicated to architecture by recreating the famous German Pavilion. The original pavilion was designed by Mies van der Rohe for the International Exhibition back in 1929, which took place in Montjuic.

If you are interested in architecture and urban planning, you will find the Pavilion to be an intriguing place to visit. The Pavilion architecture is part of the Modern movement and uses beautiful materials like travertine, marble, and onyx. This structure has inspired many other architects creating modern buildings. You can also find influential furniture inside the museum including the famous Barcelona chair.

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Barcelona Pavilion - The Mies van der Rohe pavilion (main entrance)

The Mies van der Rohe pavilion (main entrance)

Who is Mies van der Rohe?

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was an architect of German-American descent. He is well known for heading the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology and also serving as the director of Berlin's Bauhaus.

He is credited with developing a style of 20th-century architecture that stressed simplicity and clarity. This architect also focused on using modern materials. He is attributed with coming up with the famous phrase "God is in the details."

Mies struggled to design the German Pavilion because he only had a year to do so. He was also in charge of all the buildings for the Germans in the Exhibition.

His idea for the building was that it should be an "ideal zone of tranquility." Rather than exhibiting within the building, the German Pavilion was the attraction.

Barcelona Pavilion - The Barcelona chair, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is still manufactured and marketed today

The Barcelona chair, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is still manufactured and marketed today

History of the Barcelona Pavilion

When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the German Pavilion, it was used for the opening of the German section of events. However, the building wasn't meant to be permanent since it was part of the 1929 International Exhibition. Therefore, it was torn down in 1930. When the Spanish architects decided to recreate the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in the 1980's, they used original photos and architectural plans.

The Barcelona chair is one of the highlights of the Pavilion. It was initially designed for the Royals to sit while watching the exhibition's opening ceremonies. While the original frame was bolted together, in 1950 it was redesigned using stainless steel so the structure could be a seamless metal.

Also, the original piece used ivory pigskin, and this was replaced by leather. Since the initial patent has expired, you can now see this design for sale quite commonly around the world.

Barcelona Pavilion - View from inside showing Georg Kolbe's sculpture "Dawn"

View from inside showing Georg Kolbe's sculpture "Dawn"

Various Notable Events at the Pavilion

This building is one of the Barcelona museums, where events take place year-round. The Fundacio Mies van der Rohe organizes different conferences, exhibitions, and workshops. The foundation gives out the Architecture Awards, and some of the shows are related to these commendations.

Every two years, the awards celebrate a contribution for Europeans to new technology and ideas. Winners receive a cash price and a sculpture of the pavilion.

There is a small admission fee to enter the Pavilion. Inside it is quiet, beautiful and zen-like in its simplicity. But the truth is that if you are visiting Montjuic, you can get a great deal out of just seeing the building from the outside. The modern design of the building is incredibly striking, and it is incredible to think that it was designed almost 100 years ago!

When you are in Montjuic, you will notice that a great deal of the area was initially designed for the 1929 International Exhibition. Various structures were either recreated or just were left standing to this day. Be sure to check out The Olympic Stadium, the Magic Fountain, and the Palau Nacional, where you can find the world famous Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya.

When the Olympics took place in Barcelona in 1992, visitors were extremely impressed with all of the attractions in Montjuic! Seeing the iconic Mies van der Rohe Pavilion will take you back in history and enable you to imagine what the 1929 International Exhibition must have been like.