Mass is More

The Barcelona Experiment

Alan Organschi / Rosa Hanhausen / Vicente Guallart / Daniel Ibañez

16 × 23 cm
128 pages, 50 col. and b/w ill.
ISBN 978-3-98612-044-3


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For nine days in late September of 2022, the iconic Barcelona Pavilion— designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lily Reich in 1929— was host to a kind of counterfactual provocation. A new piece of architecture, inserted into the Pavilion’s garden and peeking over the travertine wall that forms its famous entry court, referred respectfully to the archetypal language of the once-exotic steel, concrete, and stone masterpiece, but was instead constructed entirely from “mass timber”, cross-laminated timber panels sourced from regional forests and manufactured in nearby Galicia.
The architectural intervention posed a radical alternative to modernism’s materiality: renewable, sustainably-sourced, carbon storing bio-fiber that might transform buildings—and one day whole cities—from massive sources of greenhouse gas emissions into climate-restoring carbon sinks. Underpinned by extensive documentation, the book explores the making of this much-admired symbol of architectural modernity and its material alternative.

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