The unveiling of Mies van der Rohe’s 1929 Barcelona Pavilion marked a watershed moment in the history of modern architecture. A short-lived structure for the 1929 world expo, the building was exquisitely simple and constructed of luxurious materials: marble, red onyx, and travertine. The design was reconstructed permanently in the 1980s and over the years, dozens of architects have reimagined the iconic building with temporary installations. Now, architects Anna and Eugeni Bach are transforming the structure to be more minimal than ever.
Over several days, the Spanish architects have been slowly covering all of the building’s luxe stone walls with white vinyl panels, effectively erasing the pavilion’s most striking elements. The building is meant to look like a full-scale model of itself, interrogating the visitor’s reaction to the structure and to the modernist trope of unadorned white space.
“This simple act turns the pavilion into a 1:1 scale mock-up, a representation of itself that opens the door to multiple interpretations about aspects like the value of the original, the role of the white surface as an image of modernity, and the importance of materiality in the perception of space,” said the Bachs.
The project is named Mies Missing Materiality, and is both a clever concept and a space-transforming intervention. The coverings will be fully installed by November 16 and removed on November 27.