April 10, 2017

Luis Martínez Santa-María Designs Steel Columns for Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion

Rightfully considered the apogee of modernism, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion was built for the Spanish city’s International Exhibition of 1929. When the exhibition finished, the pavilion was dismantled, but luckily Mies left detailed plans. In 1986, it was reconstructed.

Outside Spain’s Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect Luis Martínez Santa-María and Sauquet Arquitectes installed eight 40-foot-tall columns composed of steel drums welded together. Photography by Roland Halbe.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of that rebirth, the Fundació Mies van der Rohe organized a competition. The brief was to reinterpret the columns that stood outside the original pavilion—and to do so for the equivalent of $16,000. Architect Luis Martínez Santa-María won the competition with a proposal for columns made from discarded steel drums, then enlisted the help of Sauquet Arquitectes.

Beyond the obvious comment on recycling and sustainability, Martínez says, “It’s meant to be colorful, ephemeral, and celebratory.” He named it I Don’t Want To Change the World. I Only Want To Express It. That’s a phrase attributed to Mies himself.

> See more from the March 2017 issue of Interior Design

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