I just spend my first week ever in Barcelona and I had a great time enjoying the autumn sun, (as usual) trying to find the best coffee and food in town and taking in new impressions each day. But nothing was as inspiring as Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.

It’s a truly beautiful building, full of clarity and precision in every single detail. Mies van der Rohe’s credo “Less is More” and his thoughts on the creative process impressed me a lot. Have a look at the gorgeous Pavilion and read Mies van der Rohe’s famous LETTER ON FORM IN ARCHITECTURE to Dr. Riezler, editor of the Werkbund journal DIE FORM.

A LETTER ON FORM IN ARCHITECTURE (1927)

Dear Dr. Riezler:
My attack is not against form, but against form as an end in itself.
I make this attack because of what I have learned.
Form as an end inevitably results in mere formalism.
This effort is directed only to the exterior.
But only what has life on the inside has a living exterior.
Only what has intensity of life can have intensity of form.
Every “how” is based on a “what.”
The un-formed is no worse than the over-formed.
The former is nothing; the latter is mere appearance.
Real form presupposes real life.
But no “has been” or “would be.”
This is our criterion:
We should judge not so much by the results as by the creative process.
For it is just this that reveals whether the form is derived from life or invented for its own sake.
That is why the creative process is so essential.
Life is what is decisive for us.
In all its plenitude and in its spiritual and material relations.
Is it not one of the most important tasks of the Werkbund to clarify, analyse and order our spiritual and material situation and thus to take the lead?
Must not all else be left to the forces of creation?

by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Originally published in DIE FORM

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