The “Mass is More” installation to the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona

“Mass is More,” a project created by Daniel Ibáñez and Vicente Guallart of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and Alan Organschi of Bauhaus Earth (BE), will be on display until October 9 at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. The installation explores the use of regenerative and decarbonizing architectural materials in modern buildings.

By reconsidering the materials being used in the original pavilion, this new installation reflects on how to regenerate our cities through the use of low-emission practices in order to achieve the EU’s environmental targets for 2050. “Mass is More” will also host the launch of MASS MADERA, a network of Spanish pioneers in industrialized solid wood construction. This network is being coordinated by IAAC, whose main objective is to promote the development of mass timber construction, and the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with it.

Photo © Adria Goula

As part of the series of events and activities taking place in Barcelona throughout this year, the installation “Mass is More” intends to deepen the discussion on Biocities and new ways of designing and managing urban environments, based on the principles of circular bioeconomy, reflecting on our relationship with our forests and promoting new ways of construction. The “Mass is More” installation transforms the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion.

Adhering to the architectural language of the pavilion, this new installation creates a dialogue between the most advanced materials of the 20th century and the 21st century. Through a series of elements made of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels from local forests, this installation demonstrates the structural capabilities of this new materiality and its suitability for constructing more sustainable buildings with a much lower environmental impact.

Photo © Adria Goula

All the pieces that make up this installation have been produced by Xilonor, the most advanced Galician CLT company in Spain, part of the FINSA group. In addition to the physical installation, the exhibit comprises a 4.8-meter-long diorama showing the path of wood from the forest to the city as a material with carbon-storing properties, An interactive digital application developed by Bestiario, a leading data visualization company, offers a comparison between the environmental impacts of the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion and of the mass timber installation.

To compare both structures fairly, only architectural elements, such as the roof, walls, columns and floor, were considered. The comparative analysis comprises the embodied carbon emissions in every element, as well as the energy utilized, kilometers traveled and steps taken during the different processes of extraction, manufacturing, transportation and assembly. This digital piece is accompanied by analogue tags placed on various vertical elements of both pavilions, displaying all materials used for their fabrication.

Photo © Adria Goula

In the same way edible goods are required to disclose their ingredients, this piece offers transparency to architectural practice. Moreover, visitors will enjoy a video installation by filmmaker Jaume Cebolla within the pavilion. The screening shows the material transformations undergone by the wood harvested for the construction of the mass timber structure from a first-person perspective.

The design of the installation reflects the formal grid of the original pavilion, creating an alternative narrative and a different way of experiencing the site with new pathways and view corridors. Throughout the tour visitors will be able to see different uses and representations of wood and modern building technology. The entrance to the space inverts the traditional circulation, offering the opportunity to first pass through the trees in the garden behind the pavilion. Source and photos Courtesy of IAAC.

Photo © Adria GoulaPhoto © Adria GoulaPhoto © Adria GoulaPhoto © Adria GoulaPhoto © Adria GoulaPhoto © Adria GoulaPhoto © Adria GoulaPlan and SectionsInstallation

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