HUM 1002 South University Architecture and Symbolic Structures in Expositions - 18924

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During the last decade of the nineteenth century, so-called “World Expositions” were held in various places in an effort to let people know about some of the advances that had occurred in science and industry and to offer opportunities for fine and applied art objects to be displayed. One of these expositions – The 1889 Universal Exposition – was held in Paris, France. Another – The World’s Columbian Exposition – was held in Chicago, Illinois, in 1893.

Architecture, in terms of the buildings that housed the expositions and the special monuments that were constructed as symbols of the expositions, was important and open to both praise and condemnation. Research these two expositions in order to find out more about the architectural efforts that went into them. Take notes on your findings so you can offer information on the following:

  • What historical reason was there for holding the Paris Exposition? What were some of the modern techniques that were used to create the symbol of the exposition – the Eiffel Tower? What kind of reaction did the tower receive from the Parisians? Why, if it was supposed to be a temporary structure, has it remained as a Parisian landmark? Describe some of the other buildings constructed for the exposition and detail their uses. Offer citations for sources.
  • What historical reason was there for holding the World Exposition in Chicago? Describe the buildings constructed for this exposition and explain why they were built in this way. Explain what the general style of these buildings was supposed to represent and how landscaping helped generate a sense of unity throughout the fair area. Offer citations for sources.
  • In the years since these two expositions, there have been quite a number of World Fairs, and we associate certain structures as symbolic of them. For example, the Seattle World’s Fair left us with the Space Needle, the World’s Fair in Brussels gave us the Atomium, and New York City’s World’s Fair was symbolized by the Unisphere.

Assume that you could make arrangements to hold such an exposition in a city near you. Name that city and give a date for when the exposition will be held. Then offer your suggestions – either drawn out by hand or just described in words – for the symbol you feel should be used for the exposition. Give reasons for your choices.

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