Posts tagged with "World's Fairs":

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Relive the glory of the 1970 Osaka Expo, complete with space frames, Metabolism, inflatables, and geodesic domes

As Expo Milano 2015 continues to wow millions of visitors with stunning architecture and innovative exhibitions about the future of food production, we can’t help but get a little nostalgic for some past Expos. While London 1851 (Crystal Palace) and New York 1939 (The World of Tomorrow) are close to our hearts, it is the 1970 Expo in Osaka that really gets us fired up. Take a look at the seemingly endless stream of fantastic designs after the jump. The fair was initiated in 1965 and realized in 1970. From its conception to its realization, the following events happened: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King were assassinated, The Vietnam War started, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and the protests of 1968 erupted. This historically, politically, and socially complex time was matched by its architecture, which experienced a surge in innovation and experimentation in a variety of flavors. The 1970 Osaka Expo showcased many of the strains of technological and social revolutions that were informing the built environment of the time, and the possible futures that architecture could deliver, under the theme “Progress and Harmony for Mankind.” The result was one of the most explosive displays of architectural invention ever. It was master planned by two of the masters of the Metabolist movement in Japan, Kenzo Tange and Uzo Nishiyama. The pair represented two waves of Japanese postwar design, as Tange was a technocrat, and Nishiyama was a Marxist, more socially-driven in his ambitions to fight for the lower classes. The Metabolists saw the fair as the realization of the urban ideas that they had been developing in the 1950s and 1960s. The grounds were conceived as a living, changing organism with a central “spine that could serve as the center of a future city." For more on the plan of the site, visit Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement: Urban Utopias of Modern Japan by Zhongjie Li. The pavilions came from 76 countries, one colony (Hong Kong), three US states, and one German city. The pavilions were a mélange of the incredible experiments that were taking place in the 1960s. Space frames, prefabrication, technological integration, tensile structures, domes, inflatables, metabolism, and space travel were some of the themes shined through, and set a very high bar for future Expos. Dennis Crompton, a founder of Archigram, told the AN that he really enjoyed his time there because “it was the first time many of those ideas appeared in built form.” (They had an exhibition in the show, but more on that later.) Of course, not everyone shares Archigram’s embrace of pop culture and fantastic architecture. Many critics called it an amateurish, over the top celebration of national one-upmanship and consumerism that sacrificed many of architecture’s ideals, succumbing to politics and industry, which used the image of bombastic design to seem progressive. The main festival venue, designed by Tange, was an enormous space frame that could house performances, and each country got time for their own traditions and performances, such as Thailand’s 16-day Elephant Festival. Kiyonori Kikutake designed the Festival Tower, which took on a high-tech aesthetic and loomed above the site. Kisho Kurokawa (of Capsule Tower fame) designed one of the three capsule houses suspended over the Festival Plaza. An enormous fountain designed by Isamu Noguchi rained water down. The National Pavilions took on a myriad of wild and technologically advanced forms. Transportation options included gondolas, a free perimeter monorail, and roller coasters. One of the more unusual parts of the Expo was Arata Isozaki’s “Demonstration Robot,” an enormous "robot" that featured a control booth in its head, arms that moved, and legs that raised it 24 feet off the ground, creating a stage in its base. Not surprisingly, Archigram had an installation in the show. Produced alongside their friend Kurokawa. They shared an affinity for organic shapes and clip-on elements that could expand and re-configure structures easily. Kurokawa collaborated with Archigram on their exhibition as part of the Japanese Pavilion. It include a dimly lit space with a “Futures Peepshow” and a “yes-no” button for audience participation. This is certainly true for one of the Expo’s more prescient projects, the Pepsi Pavilion, designed by the art collective Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). The building was a dome that immersed visitors in projected images, while the exterior featured a cloud-like water vapor sculpture that enveloped the faceted exterior of the dome. It was Diller Scofidio and Renfro’s Blur Building 30 years earlier. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yVvBW4p7z8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=438&v=-CritGRvBTI For more, visit Kaput Magazine, Pink Tentacle, or Flavorwire.
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On View> Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair

Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair Kemper Art Museum, Washington University 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO Through August 3 As part of STL250, a region-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University presents Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair. This exhibition brings together a selection of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection that were on view at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, along with related works, to explore the role of the World’s Fair in relation to local aspirations to turn the city into an international cultural center. The show features such artists as Jean Charles Cazin, Frederic Edwin Church, Charles François Daubigny, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña, and Jozef Israëls.
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Biber Architects’ American Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015 to Honor Food Trucks and Vertical Farming

[beforeafter]03-us-pavilion-milan-expo-2015-biber-architects-archpaper The U.S. Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015. (Courtesy Biber Architects)[/beforeafter]   The United States will celebrate one of its most prized national treasures at the next World’s Fair: the food truck. In honor of the theme of the 2015  Milano Expo—“Feed the Planet, Energy for Life"—the American Pavilion, called American Food 2.0, includes street-level food trucks that will serve up some favorite American dishes. James Biber, the New York City–based architect of the pavilion, told Business Insider, it's not been decided which food trucks will be included at the site, but that there will be lobster rolls "for sure." But the pavilion design doesn't end with food trucks. [beforeafter]05b-us-pavilion-milan-expo-2015-biber-architects-archpaper 05a-us-pavilion-milan-expo-2015-biber-architects-archpaper[/beforeafter]   The pavilion’s most visually distinctive feature, is its hydroponic facade—or, a football-field-length,vertical farm that is planted with harvestable crops. "It is as though a typical horizontal field was rotated (think Inception with a farm field standing in for Paris) to become the side of a building," said Biber Architects in a statement. "It's not our proposal for serious urban or vertical farming, which is usually indoors, but a didactic display talking about the past, present, and future of the American farm, and the American diet." Behind the vertical farm is an airplane hangar-sized door, which opens the structure to the public. A "boardwalk" made of recycled lumber from American boardwalks takes viewers from the first floor to the second. Above that is a roof-top terrace, which is partially covered in a glass shade and photovoltaic panels. Biber told Architectural Record that the masterplan for the Expo, which was partially designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is "the most urban" he's ever seen. Lots at the site are only 20-feet-wide to create a more dense fabric. The Expo opens its doors to the public on May 1, 2015. [beforeafter]The U.S. Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015. (Courtesy Biber Architects) 04a-us-pavilion-milan-expo-2015-biber-architects-archpaper[/beforeafter]
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On View> Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s

Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Through March 31 Designing Tomorrow presents relics from six depression-era expositions that brought new visions of progress and prosperity to a struggling nation. Tens of millions of Americans flocked to fairs in Chicago (1933/34), San Diego (1935/36), Dallas (1936), Cleveland (1936/37), San Francisco (1939/40), and New York (1939/40) to catch a glimpse of the futurist oracles that would soon become post-war realities—from glass skyscrapers, superhighways, and the spread of suburbia, to electronic home goods and nylon hosiery. The fairs helped America to look forward to an era of opulence and innovation, spreading from the metropolis to the living room. Modernist furniture, streamlined appliances, vintage film reels, and visionary renderings drawn from the museum’s collection are presented together.