Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Grounds - Layout and Themes

The 1939 World's Fair sprawled over 1,200 acres of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, one of the five boroughs of New York City. The fair was divided into seven thematic zones: the Government Zone, the Community Interests Zone, the Food Zone, the Communication and Business Zone, the Production and Distribution Zone, the Transportation Zone and the Amusement Zone.
The majority of these zones were laid out around the theme center, with the exception of the Amusement Zone, which wrapped around Fountain Lake, to the right of the rest of the fair grounds.

The theme center consisted of two all-white buildings which would become the symbol of the fair. These buildings were called the Trylon, which was over 700 feet tall, and the Perisphere. Visitors entered these buildings through a moving stairway and exited via a large curved walkway named the "Helicline." Inside the Perisphere visitors found a model of the city of tomorrow, viewed from an elevated moving walkway suspended above floor level. These theme buildings embodied the theme of the entire fair: "Building the World of Tomorrow."

One of the most interesting parts of the fair plan is the corridor of buildings that ran from the top of the Government Zone to the bottom of the Transportation Zone.

At the top of the Government Zone, facing the rest of the fair grounds, is the U.S. Government building. This building casts its shadow over the 'Court of Peace', flanked on either side by buildings for several countries, such as Ireland, Greece, and Mexico.

Next along this corridor is the 'Lagoon of Nations', an oval-shaped fountain around which other nation buildings are arranged, such as those for France and Belgium. After this a stretch titled the 'Constitutional Mall' stretches all the way to the center of the fair grounds, which held its two landmark buildings: the Trylon and the Perisphere. By this point we have reached the opposite end of this long corridor which contains the New York City building, as well as the buildings for Ford, General Motors, and finally Chrysler Motors, a large building that faces the U.S. government building. As the fair's theme was centered around building the world of tomorrow, the decisions around this corridor are interesting ones to dissect. First, the parallels between the lay out of this corridor and that of the National Mall and surrounding buildings in Washington D.C. Secondly, its important to note the prominent placement of the buildings belonging to car manufacturers. The coupling of this with the architectural reference to the nation's capitol seems to echo the fair's theme, professing a future that combines key elements of democracy and technology.