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Mies van der Rohe and the German Pavilion in Barcelona

  ”The effectiveness of an exposition depends on the fundamental issues it explores. The great history of expositions tells us that only expositions that address life issues can be successful… The economic, technological and cultural conditions have fundamentally changed, both technological and industrial. They are completely faced with new problems, and the search for good solutions is very important for our culture and our society, as well as for the technological industry.”
  - Mies van der Rohe at the Barcelona Fair On the stage of the
  
  World Expo, always active With such a group of architects, their creative ideas are closely related to the theme of the World Expo, and their design works reflect the beauty of avant-garde technology. While some of these buildings have not been preserved in perpetuity, the buildings they designed and their names are firmly remembered. These great architects used their inspiration and focus to create shocks and miracles one after another at the World Expo, and the World Expo has also become a brilliant mark of these architects’ careers, and their thoughts and works will always be remembered in the history of architecture.
  Among the many architects who shined at the World Expo, the modern master Mies van der Rohe is undoubtedly the most representative one. In 1929, an international exposition was held in Barcelona, ​​Spain. The German Pavilion designed by Mies, with its typical modernist style, became the most influential architectural work in this exposition. Although the German Pavilion in Barcelona was demolished with the closing of the exhibition only 3 months after its completion, its significant impact has continued to this day.
  
  The German Pavilion
  
  in Barcelona in Barcelona is built on a stone platform about 4 feet high and consists of a main hall and two-bay annexes. The load-bearing structure of the main hall is 8 steel columns with cross-sections, and the roof is a thin piece of roof that cantilevers to all sides. The wall panels made of marble and glass are also simple and clean sheets, crisscrossed and arranged flexibly, forming a spatial sequence that is both divided and connected, closed and open.
  There is a large pool on the platform in front of the entrance of the Barcelona Pavilion, and a small pool in the backyard of the hall. Using water as a link, the indoor and outdoor spaces are interspersed with each other to form a wonderful flowing space. The selection of the color, texture and texture of the building materials in the entire building of the Barcelona Pavilion is very fine, the collocation is very elegant, and the proportions are carefully considered, so that the whole building shows noble, elegant, vivid and bright quality, showing people unprecedented in history. architectural art. The Barcelona Pavilion had a broad influence on the artistic style of modern architecture in the 20th century, and also made Mies the most high-profile modernist architect in the world at that time. With its pure form, flexible space and perfect use of steel and glass materials, the Barcelona Pavilion has become a classic work of modernist architecture and a landmark work in Mies architecture.
  
  Mies’s creative path
  
  In 1886, Mies was born in a mason family in Algeria, Germany. Few people know that a forerunner of modern architecture took the first step in his life from here. Mies had no formal architectural education, and his initial knowledge and understanding of architecture began in his father’s mason workshop and those exquisite ancient buildings. It can be said that his architectural ideas are generated from practice and experience. Unlike some architectural masters who focus on art forms, Mies devoted his life to the study of building materials, the construction technology of materials, and the aesthetic characteristics of materials. The formation of these architectural ideas may be intrinsically related to Mies’s growth experience.
  In 1905, at the age of 19, Mies came to Berlin, where he apprenticed at Bruno Paul Architects, a firm specializing in wooden design, and later worked at the modernist architect Peter Behrens. In the early 19th century, classical architecture was still the popular architectural form in Germany at that time, but there were also a few architects who advocated the use of new techniques and materials to create new buildings of the era. Peter Behrens is a representative of the new trend of architecture, and his office has gradually become the cradle of cultivating masters of modern architecture. Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, these 20th century masters of modern architecture have all worked in Peter Behrens.
  Engaged in the experience of working in an office, Mies gained a wealth of practical experience. In 1913, Mies opened his own architectural office in Berlin. In 1919, Mies boldly launched an architectural case for an all-glass curtain building, which won him the attention of the world, and then he designed many buildings in a simplified style, and achieved his career when he designed the German Pavilion at the Barcelona World’s Fair in 1929. peak. In 1930, on the recommendation of Gropius, Mies was appointed headmaster of the Bauhaus school. Because of the dictatorship of the Nazi Party in Germany at the time, the Bauhaus school was forced to close in 1933. Mies resolutely decided to go to the United States to continue to develop his own construction career.
  In the United States, Mies’s fate has gradually changed. The free ideological atmosphere of the United States has provided a loose creative space for his architectural design: the strong economic strength of the United States has provided sufficient financial support for his practice of new technologies and new materials. Especially after the Second World War, the United States, as a post-war emerging developed capitalist country, needs to establish its local cultural outlook and values ​​worldwide, while Mies’s architectural works are characterized by their anti-traditional vanguard and new technologies. The epochal nature has become the spiritual carrier of American culture, and has issued a shout and a declaration to the world’s architectural circles.
  
  The king of steel and glass architecture
  
  Mies ‘ greatest achievement in the history of architecture is to establish a new language of steel architecture. Although architects of the same era also studied steel architecture, no one has been able to go deep into the depth of establishing a steel architecture system. From the early 1820s, Mies recognized that the combination of glass walls and steel frames would become the hallmark of new-age architecture. Mies carefully studied the material characteristics and mechanical characteristics of steel buildings, so that steel buildings are no longer experimental buildings with curved heights and dwarfs, but entered the real society and become an architectural form that serves the public; Mies also deeply explored the artistic characteristics of steel buildings, It is believed that, different from the complex decoration beauty of classical architecture, the art of steel construction lies in the beauty of pure and elegant form and the beauty of precise and concise technology. Mies is the well-deserved “king of steel and glass architecture” among modern master architects.
  Mies’s persistent pursuit of idealized architectural form sometimes produces serious conflicts with the needs of the owners, and the Farnsworth House is the most typical incident. Farnsworth came from a prestigious family in Chicago. After graduating from Northwestern University School of Medicine, he became a well-known nephrologist in the United States. A single female doctor with a prominent family and a successful career, Farnsworth hopes to own a weekend country house in middle age. Mies undertook this design task, and during the design process, there was an ambiguous relationship with Farnsworth that went beyond the designer and the owner.
  The Farnsworth House adheres to the pure and simple architectural style of Mies. The shape of the house is a fully transparent glass square box, and the interior is a large room. The living room and bedroom are separated by furniture. The closed area encloses functional spaces such as toilets, kitchens, and pipe wells. The owner’s family activities can be seen in the outdoors, and the privacy of life is impossible to talk about: the transparent glass wall has problems that cannot be solved in terms of insulation in winter and summer, and the comfort of the owner’s life is difficult to guarantee; The construction technology and expensive building materials also make the house cost far beyond the budget. As the home was nearing completion, the home had become the trigger for an emotional rift between the owner and the architect, and Farnsworth took Mies to court. Although the lawsuit eventually ended in Mies’s victory, the controversy caused by the “glass box” seems to have not subsided.
  
  Modern architect
  
  Mies is good at using steel structure and large glass walls. In most of his works, the performance of both are the most wonderful highlights. The appearance of these modern architectural works by Mies has indeed played a huge role in transforming the appearance of American cities. Today, architectural critics still refer to this type of architecture with expressionist tendencies, advocating fidelity to structure and materials, and emphasizing concise and rigorous detailing techniques, as “Mies style”. However, Mies style has also been criticized by architectural critics due to the spread and replication of Mies style buildings around the world, resulting in the proliferation of a large number of monotonous, energy-consuming glass and steel boxes. In the 1980s, the architectural community began to reflect on the negative impact of modern architectural styles on the urban landscape, and launched a huge movement to protect historical heritage. The typical Mies style glass curtain wall high-rise slabs cannot be accepted by the public due to neglecting the echo and inheritance of the surrounding environment.
  No matter what the architectural community’s evaluation of Mies’s architecture is, there is no doubt that Mies has a profound influence on the modern architectural style. Later, the skyscrapers that swept the world in the 20th century, as masterpieces of steel and glass, were derived from Mies’ ideas. As the father of steel and glass architectural structures, Mies established a contemporary popular architectural aesthetic with a sense of the times. His architectural ideas have influenced the development of architecture around the world, and he is a well-deserved master of modern architecture.

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