Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion
Mies was offered the commission of this building in 1928 after his successful administration of the 1927 Werkbund exhibition in Stuttgart. The German Republic entrusted Mies with the artistic management and erection of not only the Barcelona Pavilion, but for the buildings for all the German sections at the 1929 Universal Exhibition. However, Mies had severe time constraints—he had to design the Barcelona Pavilion in less than a year—and was also dealing with uncertain economic conditions.
In the years following World War I, Germany started to turn around. The economy started to recover after the 1924 Dawes Plan. The pavilion for the Universal Exhibition was supposed to represent the new Weimar Germany: democratic, culturally progressive, prospering, and thoroughly pacifist; a self-portrait through architecture. The Commissioner, Georg von Schnitzler said it should give “voice to the spirit of a new era”. This concept was carried out with the realization of the “Free plan” and the “Floating room”.
Because this was planned as an exhibition pavilion, it was intended to exist only temporarily. The building was torn down in early 1930, not even a year after it was completed. However, thanks to black-and-white photos and original plans, a group of Spanish architects reconstructed the pavilion permanently between 1983 and 1986. There has been speculation that the colors of the reconstruction is not the same as the original.