Barcelona Pavilion, 30 Years Later

Modern Archeology


Many of the exemplary works of the Modern Movement have been mythologized by the heroic historiography of modernity, but few as much as the Barcelona Pavilion of Mies van der Rohe. This despite the pavilion’s having been brought down after its closing in 1930, so that few people had the privilege of seeing the original building. Adoration through the vicarious path of the plan and the photograph began to wane in 1980, when an initiative of Oriol Bohigas set into motion a plan to reconstruct the building, a project successfully carried out by Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Cristian Cirici, and Fernando Ramos. Not exempt of controversy and a substantial dose of interpretation-related problems, the reconstruction was finally inaugurated on 1 June 1986, thirty years ago. The Mies van der Rohe Foundation in Barcelona is now implementing a chain of programs meant not only to commemorate an anniversary with a variety of informative and entertaining activities, but to increase knowledge on the pavilion. With this in mind the foundation has organized a lecture series open to the public at large, an institutional act that was an encounter between Mayor Ada Colao and the directors that the foundation has had since 1986, an exhibition on the incarnations of the building and the artists who have used it as a setting, the construction of new installations by the likes of Peter Downsbrough and Sabine Dahrendorf, and, finally, an international symposium on the history and significance of the Barcelona Pavilion, with the presence of figures like Fritz Neumeyer, Francesco Dal Co, Jorge Otro-Pailos, Beatriz Colomina, and more.

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