Barcelona Pavilion—designed by modernist pioneer Mies van der Rohe, has gotten new temporary white walls installed to it by architects Anna and Eugeni Bach. The marble walls of the iconic pavilion are, now, completely covered with white vinyl panels. The goal of the Spanish designers is to change the distinct steel, marble and glass features of the pavilion within seven days in order to make it look like a model rather than a building.
“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,” the architects commented.
Dubbing their work at the Barcelona Pavilion ‘Mies Missing Materiality’, the pair presents this project as the newest of several temporary installations held at the pavilion which was once erected by Mies van der Rohe for the Barcelona Exposition (1929).
In 2009, Ai Weiwei, the Chinese activist and sculptor, has filled the pavilion’s ponds with milk and coffee. In 2013, Andres Jaque, an architect from Spain, filled the pavilion with items from the basement.
This year’s alterations by Anna and Eugeni Bach are considered the most drastic so far. The project aims to contemplate the historic identity of the structure, apart from the lavish materials which were used to construct it about 90 years ago.
“To provide the pavilion in Barcelona with that homogenizing whiteness means to endow it with one of the defining features of modern historiography,” said the Spanish architects. “Yet at the same time, it also involves stripping the pavilion of its materiality and its unique characteristics – specifically the one that erected it as an icon of the modern movement.”
“The installation turns this paradox into an experience. It helps visitors to consider these ideas and much more through their own experience in a pavilion that will lose all trace of its materiality for a few days to assume all its representative potential.”
The installation of the white vinyl panels started on the 8th of November, and the modified pavilion was open to the public eight days later, where a debate was held by Anna and Eugeni Bach as well as Carlos Quintáns and Maria Langarita. The temporary white screens will be torn down on November 27, 2017, re-establishing the building’s authentic persona.
The Barcelona-based architects, Anna and Eugeni Bach, have previously worked on several unconventional projects like a dwelling extension made of a skeletal framework in addition to a flat with a desk dangling from the ceiling.