Since 1851, World Fairs have offered glimpses into specific moments in time – giving us insight into what was once innovative, high-tech, and down-right radical. But the structures, the icons of each Fair, don’t always stand the test of time – no matter their architectural pedigree. In Flushing Meadows Park, New York, for example, Modernist icon Philip Johnson‘s 1964 New York State Pavilion now stands neglected, overgrown in ivy. Mies van der Rohe‘s German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona Expo didn’t even get the chance to decay as it was promptly demolished (although eventually reconstructed).
On the other hand, the Eiffel Tower, although considered “vulgar” in its day (1889), was maintained – mostly because its height made it well-suited for emitting radio signals. It’s now Paris’ most important tourist attraction.
The fate of World Fair Structures is the theme of New York-based photographer, Jade Doskow, who has already shot 19 former World’s Fair sites. Take a peek at Doskow’s images and find out how World Fair structures have fared, some better than others, after the break…
Doskow says in her Artist’s statement: “My current body of work is an examination of how the sites and structures of world’s fairs—conceived and built for a temporary, specific purpose—interact in today’s unforeseen environment. Some of the most important architects of the 19th and 20th century were commissioned to construct fair pavilions, dazzling, unusual structures incorporating the most cutting-edge materials and engineering prowess possible at the time. Among them are McKim, Mead, and White, Louis Sullivan, Gustave Eiffel, Le Corbusier, Ando, Mies van der Rohe, and the landscaping of Frederick Law Olmstead.
Tragically, these extraordinary structures are often immediately demolished, reappropriated for far less grand ambitions, or simply neglected. There is a seeming arbitrariness to what survives.”
Doskow continues: “World’s Fairs were unique, spectacular cultural events from which one can glean worldviews that came into and out of vogue, the rise of industrialization, the rise of modernism, architectural trends and progress, and the hopes and dreams of each era…my pictures allude to the complicated goals and dreams of these magnificent events.”
Story via PSFK
More images by Jade Doskow at her website.