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

Philip Johnson’s “iconic” New York State Pavilion has been listed as a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 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.”

Several engineering studies of the Pavilion structures has been completed in recent years by NYC Parks. The latest, finished in 2008 and 2012, found that both the structure’s “Tent of Tomorrow” and three “Observation Towers” are structurally sound. It will cost approximately $40 million to preserve the structures as architectural elements and about $50 million to preserve the structures while also restoring public access. 

In 2013, Parks began the process of holding public meetings to both share the results of the studies and start a discussion on the future of the space. This was followed by three public listening sessions and an online survey in January of 2014.

“This day marks an event of the rebirth of the New York State Pavilion, said Pavilion Paint Project Founder John Piro. “We are determined to bring back the excitement and energy that 1964 NY World’s Fair brought to Queens and the City of New York.”

As part of the celebrations of the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs, NYC Parks will be hosting a free festival on May 18, featuring World's Fair memorabilia; tours of Fair buildings, sculptures and structures; and international food, music and dance. For more information and a complete listing of activities, visit

Learn more about the 1964-65 World’s Fair and New York State Pavilion here.

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "The Trust Declares Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion a “National Treasure”" 22 Apr 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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