The Pavilion was one of two structures to represent the Weimar
Republic – “Germany’s democratic experiment between 1919 and 1933″1. The pavilion was to symoblise the country’s
political and cultural values, which were illustrated by an ideology and
commitment of liberalism, modernism and internationalism. Thus, the pavilion
should be understood to have no specific function, but solely a ceremonial,
symbolic and honorific role. Mies’ reaction to the initial brief was radical.
After declining the original site for aesthetic purposes, he agreed to a
slightly more peaceful site, “where the pavilion would still offer viewpoints
and a route leading to one of the exhibition’s main attractions”2.
The situation and orientation of the pavilion on the site was
intended to block any easy passage across it, making one feel inclined to pass
through the building, rather than around it. The walls of the structure not
only create space, but directed the temporary inhabitants of the pavilions
movements. Furthermore, the layout of the structure abolished movement through
space in straight lines, encouraging continuous turnabouts.
The planar design and layout focused on an absolute distinction
between enclosure and structure – “a regular grid of cruciform steel columns
interspersed by freely spaced planes”3.
However, “the real structure was a hybrid in which some planes also acted as
Although this did not seem to alter the perception of the clear demonstration
of Meis’ revolutionary and new concept of space. Mies aimed to keep a free-flowing
relationship between inside and out – mainly achieved by extensive amounts of
floor to ceiling glazing and harmoniously continuing the architectural language
of the interior out into the external spaces. In order to further connect the
inside and out, the floor slabs of the pavilion also extend out and over the
Alejandro Lapunzina, Architecture of
Spain: Reference Guides to National Architecture (Westport, Connecticut:
Greenwood Press, 2005), P. 77.
Ursel Berger, Barcelona-Pavilion: Mies
Van der Rohe & Kolbe (Berlin: Jovis, 2006), P. 19.
Richard Weston, Plans, Sections and
Elevations: Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century (London, UK: Laurence
King Publishing Ltd, 2004), P. 58.