It’s underwhelming, the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies. But in a good way. It was as if the expectation of total perfection diluted the experience of perfection. How can you experience perfection when you know it is perfect ahead of time?
Does this sound like I am complaining? Maybe. At any rate, I was there last week. And the piece truly is a celebration.
The ground on the back side is covered with a thick, lush ivy. This ivy covered landscape slopes gently up. And it also slopes down as it moves toward the sculpture end. So Mies indeed had to accommodate a gently sloping site, which of course is something that you are not taught at all. The site slopes front to back for a total rise of about 6 feet.
Was that ivy planted there during the exposition? I don’t know, but I like to think so. Because the dark green marble walls then integrate with the ivy beds. The dark green marble pulls in nature, and connects with nature both with the slope of the site as well as the vegetation.
I had to sort of tromp thru one of the ivy areas in order to see how the slope of the ground moves around the building. Nobody said anything for my trespass.
So I did the drawing above this morning, sort of pulling out all of the stops. I used the Choisey One Point projection. And I drew in water across two pages of my sketchbook. Although I did get the pink marble interior wall in the wrong place.
And I took great delight in drawing the two pools of water as the volumes that they are. It slowly dawned on me that the depth, or thickness, of the water pools is just about the same as the thickness of the roof planes. Revelatory.
At any rate, great fun.