1929 Barcelona International Exposition  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The 1929 Barcelona International Exposition (also 1929 Barcelona Universal Exposition, or Expo 1929, in Catalan: Exposició Internacional de Barcelona de 1929) was the second World Fair to be held in Barcelona, the first one being in 1888. It took place from 20 May 1929 to 15 January 1930 in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It was held on Montjuïc, the hill overlooking the harbor, southwest of the city center, and covered an area of 118 hectares (291.58 acres) at an estimated cost of 130 million pesetas ($25,083,921 in United States dollars). Twenty European nations participated in the fair, including Germany, Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Romania and Switzerland. In addition, private organizations from the United States and Japan participated. South American countries as well as the United States were represented in the Ibero-Americana section in Sevilla.

The previous 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition had led to a great advance in the city's economic, architectural and technological growth and development, including the reconstruction of the Parc de la Ciutadella, the city's main public park. A new exposition was proposed to highlight the city's further technological progress and increase awareness abroad of modern Catalan industry. This new exhibition required the urban planning of Montjuïc and its adjacent areas and the renovation of public spaces, principally Plaça d'Espanya.

The exposition called for a great deal of urban development within the city, and became a testing-ground for the new architectural styles developed in the early 20th century. At a local level, this meant the consolidation of Noucentisme, a classical style that replaced the Modernisme (in the same vein as Glasgow Style / Art Nouveau / Jugendstil, etc.) predominating in Catalonia at the turn of the 20th century. Furthermore, it marked the arrival in Spain of international avant-garde tendencies, especially rationalism, as seen in the design of the Barcelona Pavilion, created by German Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The Exposition also allowed for the erection of several emblematic buildings and structures, including the Palau Nacional de Catalunya, the Font màgica de Montjuïc, the Teatre Grec, Poble Espanyol]], and the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys.

Barcelona Pavilion

German Pavilion: this is considered to be one of its architect's master works, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It is one of the best examples of the international style of architecture due to its purity of form, its spacial concept and its intelligent use of structures and materials, which turned this pavilion into the quintessential piece of 20th-century architecture. In 1928 Mies was contracted to build the official German pavilion together with the Electricity Supply pavilion and several exhibits in the Official Section's buildings, with the collaboration of interior designer Lilly Reich. Rectangular in shape, it is elevated on a travertine-covered podium; the covering was supported on cross-shaped columns and load-bearing walls, with side walls of different materials (plaster-covered bricks, steel covered by green marble and Moroccan onyx). Its decoration was reduced to two ponds and a sculpture, La Mañana, by Georg Kolbe. Demolished after the Exhibition, it was reconstructed between 1985 and 1987 in its original location by Cristian Cirici, Ignasi de Solà-Morales and Fernando Ramos, following Mies van der Rohe's plans.

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