World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.
To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.
New research has found that (unsurprisingly) the Eiffel Tower and Burj Khalifa - the world’s tallest building – are among the top three most popular backdrops for “selfies.” The study, conducted by attractiontix, used data from Instagram to come up with the list, of which the Colosseum in Rome and Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia seems to have also secured a top spot.
The top 10 “selfied” attractions (in order) are:
LEGO® has announced the architecture series’ newest addition: The Eiffel Tower (La tour Eiffel). Named after its engineer, Gustave Eiffel, the famous lattice structure is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Built on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France, to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world until 1930, and remains the tallest structure in Paris. More than 5,000 detailed drawings were required to assemble the 1063-foot tower’s 18,038 iron parts, which took just over two years to complete.
And this week’s “punniest” title award goes to Fast Company (there was no contest, really). Beside the pun, of course, the article itself is pretty cool, outlining how Google Street View has followed-up on their latest intrepid capture of the Burj Khalifa with the 1889 classic: the Eiffel Tower. Read the article here and check out the fun video above!
While the Eiffel Tower was negatively received at first for its utilitarian appearance, it soon became a major attraction for Paris, France in the late 19th century. It represented structural ingenuity and innovation and soon became a major feat, rising to 300 meters of7,500 tons of steel and iron. Just three years after its unveiling, London sponsored a competition for its own version of the tower in 1890. The Tower Company, Limited collected 68 designs, all variations of the design of the Eiffel Tower. Proposals were submitted from the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Turkey and Australia. Many of the designs are bizarre interpretations of utilitarian structures, following the aesthetics of the Eiffel Tower, only bigger and taller.
Join us after the break for more on the story of the Tower of London.