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Mies Pavelo

No fan of modern architecture would ever leave Barcelona without visiting or revisiting the Mies van der Rohe pavilion. The original structure, built at the entrance to the German section of the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition, was meticulously reconstructed in 1983-6 having been dismantled after the exhibition. The thrones designed for the use of the King and Queen of Spain on their arrival at the exhibition were the original “Barcelona chairs”. At Mies’ insistence, they were the only furnishings in the building. They still are. The pavilion can be visited daily from 10.00 to 20.00, but check ahead as it is sometimes closed for a special event, visit

Casa Bloc

Catalan architects of the Second Republic (1931-1939) created Casa Bloc as one of the first steps towards dignifying workers’ living conditions. The Spanish Civil war put an end to the initiative and to the philosophy behind it. After the war, the building was occupied by families of Franco’s armed forces and later the police. In 1992, the Generalitat de Catalunya declared the building as protected, and, in 2012, after careful restoration of the original kitchen, bathroom and laundry room and the installation of period furniture, apartment number 1/11 was opened, looking just as its creators had originally envisioned it. Visits are organised by the Disseny Design Museum on Saturdays at 11.00 and 12.30. Book online at

Gehry’s fish

In an interview in the PBS American Masters series, architect Frank Gehry revealed that it was his colleagues’ postmodern interest in recreating Greek temples that sparked his interest in fish: “Greek temples are anthropomorphic. And three hundred million years before man was fish. If you gotta go back, and you’re insecure about going forward...go back three hundred million years ago. Why are you stopping at the Greeks? So I started drawing fish in my sketchbook, and then I started to realize that there was something in it.” Gehry’s huge copper-coloured fish, constructed in the Olympic Village in 1992, is a Barceloneta landmark. See it at Career de Ramon, Trias Fargas 1.

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