Barcelona Pavilion Case Study

For an analysis of a space as part of Project 1 in Tools and Technology 1 class, I chose the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies Van Der Rohe. Since 1929 when the pavilion was built for the International Exhibition in Spain, it became a magnet of spatial studies for architects everywhere. It was this interest about such small space that caused my intrigue to learn more about it.

First step of understanding the pavilion was to draft its floorplan and section. Since the original plans were in metric and were missing key measurement, converting them into inches while making sure all dimensions were correct became a challenge. At the end though, I was pleased with the results:

Even though it is visually simple floorplan, its complexity comes from the strategic layout of walls. Unforced direction of visitor’s movements throughout the space happens naturally without clear knowledge of the visitor. Walls are not there as bare structural support but rather spatial dividers and “directors” of the space:

Another interesting element Van Der Rohe considered while building the pavilion (in bare 8 months) was his selective choice of materials and colors. Glass, travertine, marble, onyx and steel were his only few choices. As far as colors selection, Van Der Rohe let the natural materials speak for themselves and added only black rug and red curtains in one area of the pavilion which not only contrast with one of the yellow walls but has political statement as well showing German colors. 

After drafting a floor plan, section and research about the pavilion, the final step was an analysis of core spatial strategies within the space. I chose to portray these strategies through diagrams as they would be the best choice to highlight the unique complexity of the pavilion. Sketching through various option helped me to understand the space even better:

Individual strategies I focused on were circulation, interlocking spaces, space within a space, and materials.

Finished diagrams and sketches:

Here is my final presentation of case study of the Barcelona Pavilion:

For more information and photos about the pavilion, you can visit the official website here.

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