An image by Vicente Zambrano shows the "Mistos" (Matches) sculpture in the foreground and the building in the background

A Symbol of the Spanish Republic, Turned into a Building

The architectural collective El globus vermell organizes guided tours of the Pavilion of the Republic.

It was first built in Paris for the International Exhibition of 1937, but it had a second life following the 1992 Olympic Games when this work by Josep Lluís Sert was reconstructed in Vall d'Hebron. Have you seen the Pavilion of the Republic? Choose a day and let some architects tell you about this construction.

The one you see in the image, behind Claes Oldenburg's popular "Cerillas" (Matches) sculpture (Photo: Vicente Zambrano González), is no ordinary building. Not for its design, which is closely linked to the most modern aesthetics of the first half of the 20th century, nor for its significance. This construction, created when the Spanish Civil War had begun, became a symbol of the Spanish Republic, designed by Josep Lluís Sert and the architect Luis Lacasa. The rationalist style of the pavilion perfectly matched the avant-garde of the time and had clear architectural value.

For this reason, in 1992, on the occasion of the Olympic Games, architects Miquel Espinet and Antoni Ubach were commissioned to build a replica of the building, constructed with the same materials as the original.

The pavilion, like the replica you can see now, was a kind of large empty container, with almost no walls. Metal or fibre-cement structures were used to divide the space, depending on the floor.

Today, they will show you the current appearance and use of the pavilion, which houses the Center for International Historical Studies and the Library of the Pavilion of the Republic, focusing on the Second Republic, the Spanish Civil War, Francoism, exile, and the transition.

During the visit, they will remind you that much of the anti-fascist symbolism of the building was expressed in works of art such as Picasso's famous "Guernica," which hung at the entrance and of which you will see a replica; Joan Miró's "The Reaper," or Alexander Calder's "Mercury Fountain," which is still preserved in the Miró Foundation.

You can learn everything you want to know about the building from the members of the El globus vermell association, a cultural entity founded in 2009 and driven by architects. The association aims to educate citizens to be critical of the urban environment and to promote ways to transform our cities into more sustainable environments.

If you want to learn all about the Pavilion of the Republic, come to these guided tours, but remember to register on the El globus vermell association's website, and keep in mind that to organize a visit, a minimum of eleven people must have registered.

Publication date: Thursday, 09 November 2023
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