Vol. 5, No. 1,
July 2000

Identities, Places, Projections:
World´s Fairs and Architecture

Architecture and Exhibition


Monuments and Expiry Date –
Defeat of the Traditional Understanding of Monuments on World Expositions

The appearance of World Expositions is dominated by the tradition of national pavilions since it had been decided to prefer these instead of hosting all participants under one roof for the whole Fair. Thus in many cases buildings changed into iconographic manifestations that advertize as propagandistic information tools for both products/goods and world views/educational ideals. Those deliberately created images enhanced the connection of perception and recall and thus lead to further associative development of experiences.
Therefore being integrated true to scale or out of scale pavilions point towards meaning, which is exceeding what is actually perceived. In fact many pavilions appear as monuments, yet monuments that were built for demolition, which is actually against the convention of lasting buildings. Monuments with an expiry date; monuments, that to some extent, as counterparts to their models, have short term effect only.
With this example the author is trying to explain that World´s Fairs can suspend common categories and definitions and have the opposite effects for characteristic features, even for such representative buildings like everlasting monuments, that, as zeitgeist-monuments, are already planned for soon demolition.



The Woman’s Building and the World Exhibitions:
Exhibition Architecture and Conflicting Feminine Ideals at European and American World Exhibitions, 1873–1915.

It would appear that the „Woman´s Buildings", which appeared at the European and American World Exhibitions between 1873 and 1915, employed architecture solely to express a changing feminine ideal and attempted to situate femininity demonstrably in the public sphere. Indeed, defining a more expanded public role for women was one goal these structures and their exhibitions attempted to address.
But as Karen Offen has noted, locating women within a capitalist economy was central to issues relating to politics and power concerning the growth of the nation states in the second half of the nineteenth century: „Hence the history of feminism poses essential questions ... questions about gender ... for the political and intellectual history of Europe and the modern western world, just as women´s history poses essential questions for its social and economic history."
During the second half of the nineteenth century, the world exhibitions were the scene of the presentation and celebration of products manufactured for the emerging national and international markets. Eric Hobsbawm has described these events as being the gigantic ritual of self representation of the „triumphing world of capitalism".
Thus, the „Woman´s Buildings", which were constructed at the World Exhibitions, were also intended to locate gender difference in relation to a particular market economy. In continental Europe, the architecture of, and the items exhibited within a Woman´s Building, were concerned with defining women as either consumers or producers. In the United States, „Woman´s Buildings" served a different purpose: their architecture and exhibitions were intended to engage the economic potential of women´s participation in public life. The American „Woman´s Building" became the focus of female fundraising efforts, it was an event intended to attract female visitors or it was simply a venue which provided support services to female workers at an exhibition. In either model, the locating femininity within a particular economic order was not primarily understood as being a means to involve women more broadly in the public sphere and bring about gender equality. Instead, when viewed in relation to the economic impetus which influenced their making, the „Women´s Buildings" also functioned to reinforce traditional gender roles and question emancipation.
This conflict, defining a broader public role for women which reflected changing feminist concerns, while reinforcing traditional gender ideology, is one which can be read in the programming, the architecture as well as the discourses surrounding the erection of the eight women´s buildings constructed on the European and World exhibitions between 1873 and 1915.



Expo Achitecture and Black Box

Multi media presentations, computer generated virtual space production and gamelike interactive information transfer mark the major part of exhibits, prepared for Expo 2000 in Hannover. Hosts and participants thus appear up to date presenting information in high tech and at the same time fulfilling entertainment needs of recipients. Such tendency has a tradition within the history of World´s Fairs, the latest apparent since the Expo in Osaka, when new presentation media clashed with ambitious, partly emblematic architecture. Expo 70 reflected a shift in the function of World´s Fairs. This was already observed since the 1930s and showed itself clearly in Montreal 1967. More obvious than on any other previous Expo the participants in Osaka demonstrated a withdrawal from exhibit-focused presentation of national economic achievement in favor of an attempt to determine commercial appeal of "images" and "corporate identities". These were supposed to distinguish themselves beyond product accumulation by artistic and popular-entertaining production. More than at any previous exhibition, references to exhibitors were created only by information about the exhibitor via multi media or by complete renouncement of object presentation via entirely abstract presentation forms that established more or less obvious association links. Movie projections, sound installations and mainly a gamelike access to computerbased information demonstrated changed exhibition standards. Thus the obvious meaning of multi media presentation did not only question once more World Expositions as such, but especially regarding the built manifestations, also affected the core function of architecture for World Expositions. The "black box" as best frame for new presentation media is competing with the seemingly redundant great architectural gesture.

Exhibition "Style"


Techniken des Überblicks. Vertikale und horizontale Erschließungen früherer Weltausstellungen
Alexander C. T.


Tired of Exhibitions. Major German Exphibition Projects and Their Failure

The fact of Germany not having hosted any previous World Exhibition before June 1, 2000 has only come to a public awareness during the last months while preparing Expo 2000 in Hannover. In this context the for a long time unnoticed great Berlin Trade Exhibition in 1896 received increased attention as well. Today it is less considered a ´World Exhibition manqué´ than a direct forerunner of Hannover´s Exposition – not least by the management itself.
Yet it is mostly ignored that the Berlin Exposition for years had been in the middle of a German as well as international controversy about the so called ´World´s Fair Question´, where the medium itself was also questioned as such. Thus it seems legitimate to consider the Berlin Trade Exhibition as well as the only nevertheless comparably advanced enterprise within a long line of unsuccessful attempts of similar projects.
The three goals of this paper must be seen as a comparably humble discussion regarding a histography that only exists in rudimentary approaches. In a first step it will be attempted to identify different German World and Major Exhibition projects of late 19th and early 20th century, then briefly analyze the individual reasons for their failure and finally show their connected debates (1880, 1896, 1907). Why had Germany never hosted a World Exposition before?
In a second step the meaning and function of the central and repeatingly apprearing term ´tired of exhibitions´ will be localized. The celebrated term within the German context, which is mainly connected with a general overload of the medium in public, seems rather curious. Yet could the particular national restriction of this German debate be taken as further evidence for the international character of ´exhibitionary complex´?
As third step, following decision-making processes and singular exhibition sections, the historical place of the trade exhibition within a worldwide densly weaved network of expositions will be determined.
Although taken as historical and contemporary evidence for Berlin being a metropole and as passport for urban modernity, it had only been ennobeled a World´s Fair like product – that is my second thesis – by a discourse that had started long before.
In this way, the contribution intents on the one hand to offer a point of departure for a theory of European exposition practices, which still has to be written; on the other hand it discusses the legitimacy of the thesis of a particular German way with international expositions.


World – City – Exposition
Chances and Problems for an Urban Development of Venues

Since the beginning of the World´s Fairs movement host cities always seem to be involved at extremely high costs in order to glitteringly present themselves in the eyes of the world. At all time it had been questioned whether the city could take a potential use out of that major event.
A historical comparison between concepts mark the change of expectations and intentions among organizers. Initially national and personal prestige had been the main motor for the realization, yet in the context of political, economical and social changes and constraints the justification pressure increased. A viable long term legacy became more important.

Four models of urban design crystallized from World Expositions:
-the beautiful city: urban embellishment and FREIFLÄCHENPLANUNG (FACHBEGRIFF IM 6 SPRACHIGEN WÖRTERBUCH)
-ephemeral interlude
-continuous use as exhibition site
-for urban use: instrumentalization for urban development
Based on the typology of the concepts chances and problems of planning can be articulated. These can be used as a reference for a justification of future planning.



The 1879 Sydney Garden Palace International Exhibition
The Origins and Precursors of the International Exhibitions

The article will present an overview of the different historical strands, which constitute the phenomenon of World´s Fairs in the 19th century: The market, the fair (of which emerged the art exposition), the technological exposition. The authors discuss religious moments in the context of architecture (domes, cupolas) and its use (ceremonies). The export of such a tradition in countries outside of Europe also determined the Garden Palace Exhibition 1879 in Sydney, that – at first planned as a regional exposition – finally got changed into an international exposition.

Russian Exposition Halls on World´s Fairs and International Expositions from 1851-1917

A wide arc is described, starting with Russian contributions to the first World´s Fair 1851 in London, continuing with first Russian buildings for Expo 1867 in Paris, leading towards a fully matured type of Russian Expo buildings (Dresden 1911, Leipzig 1914, Malmö 1914, Venice 1914). On all those expositions Russia presented itself in forms of old Russian architecture. A rare exception can be found in the Russian pavilions for the international exposition 1911 in Rome and Turin, built in the style of Russian classical architecture.
In spite of the inevitable demolition of those buildings later on, Russian architects always strived for a high quality in their work. They were eager to create an original reflection of the national Expo pavilions. Therefore the attention on old Russian architecture was quite natural. Russia´s constribuitions to great expositions abroad was one way to confirm Russian national culture in the West.



The German Empire on 19th Century World´s Fairs

This article deals with the type of mass cultural event, already characteristically fascinating a milionfold crowd during the second half of the 19th century. Following some systematic questions, the German part on World´s Fairs of the 19th century will be critically discussed. This will include a short overview regarding some fundamentals of the history of World´s Fairs. After that a few selected political aspects of image cultivation of a "late nation" will be investigated. Finally, the ideas of German exposition makers regarding the cultural presentation of the German Empire will be analyzed. In that context the main aspect is the representation of political culture.

The essays are open to discussion for 6 months. Remarks, comments or criticism by readers can be added to each essay. The authors then may rewrite their essays during these 6 months of interaction with readers. After this period the articles will be frozen but still available in the net.

The editorial staff keeps all rights, including translation and photomechanical reproduction. Selections may be reprinted with reference:
( Wolkenkuckucksheim, Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, Vozdushnyj Zamok >/theoriederarchitektur/Wolke<)
if the editorial staff is informed.

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Issue 1/97: Modernity of Architecture. A Critical Recognition
Issue 2/97: Architecture - Language
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Issue 2/98: Architecture and Home. A discussion of Heideggers essay `building, dwelling, thinking` (1951)
Issue 1/99: Design Creativity and Materialization
Issue 2/99: A New Cultural Landscape Working and Living Environments for the Future