Industrial Modernism Merges with Nature
The Barcelona Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain by Mies Van der Rohe represents modernism that was based off of aspects of nature. It took various elements from that natural world surrounding it to organize the structure of the building, placement of walls, and types of materials used. For example, The outside walls are made fully of glass panels so that you are able to see directly across the top of the tree line out across the forest. This creates a horizontal line which is then repeated through the walls that are wide and horizontal in placement but also emphasize verticality through reaching from ceiling to floor. When someone is experiencing this structure from the inside, their attention is directed through the glass windows by the horizontal walls leading your eye toward that direction and the outside view is of nature. This design by Mies van der Rohe was a new attempt at modernism for him because he generally looked toward the more industrial types of architecture staying away from nature as an inspiration. However, in this structure, he places a newer importance on the visual aspect of the materials used and how they correspond with the idea of nature or how the horizontal and vertical lines of the structure enhance and draw attention to nature. This space is open and uses different wall lengths and placement to direct circulation through the space and enforce what an observer will obtain from experiencing the space, similar to how nature is organized in its own way, but organized through different levels and placement of elements.
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry was inspired by concrete slab structures. It is a representation of industrial architecture by its concrete and rod structure but it is merging with the Barcelona Pavilion’s inspiration through nature. This concrete slab structure was created in an expressive way stretching concrete and rods thin to create expression through form. It is an expressionist sculpture sculpted from concrete and band steel. Overly detailed designs have been left out to portray the actual materials used structurally and was intended to represent the future of modernism by creating something that technology previously could not do which is one of the main focuses of modernism: to create something that could not have been done before through new technology.
Brasil’s Foreign Ministry’s intent was to inspire advancements in modernism by using new technologies, sculpting concrete slab structures, to create expressionistic works. It builds from the idea of using the simplest form of design and builds it from the root of that idea to create cleaner more straightforward design. It leaves out all extra materials and portrays the structural material as beautiful. The simpler form of this structure merges with the idea of using nature as an inspiration. The structure by Mies van de Rohe reinforces the idea of modernism beginning to look toward nature for inspiration and coming up with the most stripped away and simple aspect of an idea. Building from the simple lines of nature and representing its materials not literally, but more geometrically and using this to encourage observers to understand that the structure is about the root of the elements it is suggesting and an attempt to go toward the cleanest form of design that has not yet been influenced and altered by something or someone else. Therefore, this structure is representing what the newest form of modernism is all about. The materials are geometricized and polished, but they are natural. The actual material that is used is displayed and not covered by paint or drywall. I think one of the most important focuses of this unit is how modernism has evolved to be about coming up with the simplest form of an idea and making it geometricized and organized but taking simple aspects found in nature. The actual material used structurally is used also aesthetically using the simplest form and not taking away from the importance of beauty of the natural materials while it is still organized and polished to keep simplicity. Mies van der Rohe explored new ideas as far as enhancing nature for the focus of his structure. This was a new approach to modernism and it steps away from simply trying to industrialize buildings without thinking about their functionality. This is where modernism becomes about inspiration from nature, because nature is the simplest thing to look back to and take ideas from and often overlooked.