Ludwig Mies van der Rohe // Barcelona
Over fall break, I was fortunate enough to travel to Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona. While each city was filled with its fair share of beautiful art, architecture, and people, Barcelona was by far the most interesting place to visit, especially during this time of the year. Summers really don’t end in this part of the world. We explored the city in shorts and t-shirts, soaking in the sun and the incredible atmosphere just to hear our bartenders talk about how it’s like winter for them. I’ll take it.
On our second day, we rented bikes near our hostel and spent almost ten hours weaving between the city’s major avenues and streets. After stumbling across Mies van der Rohe’s masterpiece on our first night near the Plaça d’Espanya, we decided that the first order of business was to visit the pavilion the following morning when it was open and bathing in Catalan sunlight.
It’s always a pleasure to experience such well-crafted spaces. Mies van der Rohe’s minimal and deliberate use of simple forms, extravagant materials, and iconic furniture presents a series of spaces in which the free plan reigns king and the architecture represents a progressive and thoroughly pacifist national identity for the new Weimar Germany. Among the masterworks I’ve visited since arriving in Europe, this is one of the few that lived up to its hype; it’s simple, direct, and totally honest about its intentions.