The Trust Declares Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion a “National Treasure”

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Philip Johnson’s “iconic” New York State Pavilion has been listed as a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic . This designation, which was announced today at the 1964-65 World’s Fair’s 50th anniversary celebration in Queens, declares the pavilion a “historically, culturally and architecturally important site” and will help raise awareness and funding for its preservation. It is now one of just 44 national sites bearing this recognition.

“In the last 50 years, Flushing Meadows Corona Park has grown from the site of the World’s Fair to the home of the World’s Park,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “As we celebrate this anniversary, it is just as important that we look to the next 50 years and plan for the Park’s future. I would like to thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation for honoring the New York State Pavilion as a ‘National Treasure’. This designation will highlight the importance of the Pavilion as a national icon, and help us to continue the conversation about how it can best serve Queens’ residents.”

Tour Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion Tomorrow

For the first time in decades, Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion will open to the public tomorrow (April 22) in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, “the Pavilion represents a pivotal time in American history when the allure of putting a man on the moon inspired renowned architect to create this emblem for Space Age enthusiasm,” described Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Photography: When World Fairs End / Jade Doskow

Montreal 1967 World’s Fair, “Man and His World,” Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome With Solar Experimental House, 2012. Photo © Jade Doskow.

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…