The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and Bauhaus Earth have a new installation opening at the Barcelona Pavilion. “Mass Is More” is a timber pavilion constructed on the site of Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich’s iconic pavilion. It’s also made with locally sourced wood to show the potential of building on a mass scale using regional timber.

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People walking the timber pavilion

“Mass Is More” explores regenerative and decarbonizing architectural materials. The idea is to demonstrate the multi-layered processes behind the construction of the built environment, according to designers. Through the use of wood, along with other similar materials, buildings like this pavilion can help lower CO2 emissions.

Related: New wood Japanese bridge blends local and modern design

Wooden stairs leading into the pavilion

Furthermore, mass timber CLT panels are used to construct all elements of the installation. In fact, they were sustainably sourced from Spanish forests and are being used in a way that the designers hope “gracefully demonstrates the performative, structural, and tactile capacities of this material.”

View of natural wood wall within the pavilion

The new pavilion also creates a respectful dialogue with the original pavilion on site. It serves as a big departure from modernism’s materials of concrete and steel. Can you create scalable architecture that is sustainably sourced using renewable, carbon-storing biomaterials? That’s the question this project answers by then demonstrating it can be done.

Wood wall with natural patterns

Meanwhile, the architects of the pavilion explore bioregionalism and material circularity to show how builders can make use of upcycled, reused and regionally sourced sustainable materials to decarbonize architecture. The pavilion is being used as a venue for the launch of Mass Madera, a Spanish mass timber building network.

The installation was produced by timber company Finsa and Xilonor, and incorporates a visual environmental representation developed with Bestiario. “Mass Is More” is part of the events of the European Forest City 2022 in Barcelona, organized by the European Forest Institute.

+ Institute for Advanced Architecture Catalonia, Bauhaus Earth

Images via Adria Goula