Urso Chappell’s ExpoMuseum Blog: February 2008

26 February 2008

The Expo Book

I'm fortunate to have been asked to contribute my design skills to a great project, The Expo Book. The full title is The Expo Book: A Guide to the Planning, Organization, Design & Operation of World Expositions.

Written by Gordon Linden and Paul Creighton, the book is being published in six installments in InPark Magazine with the help of Editor Judith Rubin.

15 February 2008

The Lure of Towers at World's Fairs

In my early days as a student of world's fairs, I was fascinated by the towers created at world's fairs. As a child, tall structures really have a greater power than perhaps they do as an adult. In architecture school, an interest in skyscrapers over more "artsy" buildings is looked down upon by many professors.

In the most recent expos, there haven't been as much a reliance on tall towers as a draw, but I think they were disfavored in more recent decades as being distractions from the more serious nature of world's fairs and can take away from the theme's goals.

I think they still have a power outside their own physical existence. 1889's Eiffel Tower, 1962's Space Needle, and even 1982's Sunsphere have a draw. San Antonio's Tower of the Americas from Hemisfair '68 just reopened with great fanfare.

I think the towers can provide a certain level of initial excitement about an exposition. It acts as an exclamation point to send the message that what's going on underneath is important.

For that reason, I was happy to hear that Expo 2010 will have a tower. Theirs will have, if you'll pardon the expression, a twist. They're using an existing chimney on the site to create an observation tower. To get to the top, visitors will ride roller-coaster-style cars.


By reusing the tower, they can illustrate the benefits of reusing existing structures instead of tearing them down to rebuild, thus fitting with the environmental aspects of the "Better City, Better Life" theme.

I know I can't wait to go up it in two years. I just wonder what the ride back down will be like!

11 February 2008

The Expo '67 Site: 40 Years Later

I love visiting the sites of former world's fairs and finding little artifacts here and there.

There aren't many like me that could get excited at finding evidence of the foundation for the Australian Pavilion at site of the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, but I know I'm not alone.

This wonderful collection of photos documents the same views of Montreal's Expo '67 site in 1967 and 2007.