The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, beyond the merely sporting and urban, represented for the city the recovery of its history, which was interrupted in 1936. It has been the most important event in recent times, thanks to which the city has regained its former splendor. That is why the Olympic Stadium was renamed with the name of the martyred president, Lluís Companys.
From this wish of uniting the past with the present, the idea of reconstructing the Spanish pavilion that the Republic commissioned for the 1937 International Exhibition in Paris was born. This pavilion represented an act of the Republic, already in the midst of the Civil War.
Everything that the Republic represented for a large part of the citizens was expressed in it, with the participation of the most important Spanish artists, who were really relevant at an international level: Picasso with his Guernica, made expressly for the building, The Catalan peasant in revolt by Joan Miró, Montserrat by Julio González, the Mercury Fountain by Calder, and the building by Josep Lluís Sert, with the collaboration of Luis Lacasa commissioned directly by the Government of Madrid.
Such a work was entrusted to us despite the little material that was available, because, due to the urgency with which it was built, an ad hoc architectural project was not carried out. We only had a few photographs, a certainly necessary material but it did not enlighten us, for example, about certain materials or colours. Knowledge of Sert's work, interpretation of the documentation found both at the Reina Sofía Art Centre in Madrid and at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona, and constructive logic, were the tools we used to rebuild the pavilion.
The Minister of Culture at the time, Jorge Semprún, promised that during the Games the authentic Guernica would occupy the same place on the wall as in that event. It did not happen that way and the wall was left empty. Out of respect for Picasso's work, we left the wall grey, which is the most abundant part of the painting, and Picasso's signature in white on it (we should remember that the Guernica was never signed).
The project falls under the canons of GATPAC rationalism, according to the times in which it was made. It responds to a rectangle of 28.8 by 10.8 and 12 metres high. The entire building is perfectly suited to this modulation.
Everyone knows the use for which the pavilion was intended as built by Josep Lluís Sert, that is, as a small showcase structured around a unidirectional itinerary, through which the programmatic content that was exhibited could be seen.
It is accessed by a few steps that lead us to the patio, a Mediterranean garment par excellence, and in which countless cultural events were held. Through a ramp, combined with a staircase, the upper level is reached. This part of the building departs from the most classic canons of early rationalism and points to organic forms that shortly after Alvar Aalto rises to its own characteristic within rationalism.
From the interior and always along predetermined routes, you go down until you reach the door on the first floor, from where you go outside, to go down a staircase that deposits the visitor at the end of the route.
Due to its architectural characteristics, the building seemed intended for a similar use to that of the original in Paris and, consequently, it should be possible to hold art exhibitions, so our reconstruction was forced to provide it with modern installations: electrical, air conditioning, elevator and a basement, where all the machines that such updating required could be placed.