The intended impact on its visitors was to impose a sensation of
serenity and tranquility. Mies was able to concentrate on this when designing,
as the pavilion was to lack actual exhibition space and become the actual
The Glamorous and striking
materials used by Mies only exaggerates the modern theme of the pavilion.
Veneers of the highest-grade stone such as red onyx and Tinos verde antico
marble as well as white, green, grey tinted, and translucent, glass perform
exclusively as spatial partitions.
As it was planned as an exhibition
pavilion, it was intended to only temporarily exist. However, its solid
armoured cement foundations and the predominance of other long lasting,
hard-wearing materials do not evoke an image of a limited life span. This
proves the poor level of sustainability we often seen in temporary structures.
Citing Peter Gurthrie, “all architecture is but waste in transit”1, as if
architecture acts as some metaphoric conveyer belt between initial production
of materials and land fill sites; temporary architecture acting as a catalyst
in this process. There are many prime examples of temporary architecture which
prove to be sustainable, such as The People’s Pavilion – designed for Dutch
Design Week in October 2017 – built almost entirely from borrowed or recycled
materials. Contrastingly, Barcelona Pavilion used all newly and specifically
sourced materials, none of which were recycled nor reused after its demolition
in 1930. Even when the building began reconstruction in 1983, reaching
completion by 1986, it withheld an absence of materials sourced from the
may seem surprising and potentially shocking to people of present times,
however the very idea and obsession with recycling materials and being
eco-friendly was still an almost niche ideology at this moment in time. This
obsession and need to build more sustainable structures became much more
mainstream in the 1990’s, due to advancing technologies and research of climate
change, put together with the increasing availability and accessibly of
eco-friendly materials and sustainable energy exploration.
Jeremy Till, Architecture Depends (Cambridge,
Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2009), P. 67.