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Related Museum Links Preparations for the World’s Fair

Pan American Clipper at Treasure Island

ASCAP Cavalcade of Music at the Fair

Huff’s Sculptures at the World’s Fair

Other World’s Fair Exhibits

Dedication of San Francisco Airport

Mayor Rossi’s Labor Day Speech at Treasure Island

Aerial View of Treasure Island - 1994

Treasure Island — Environmental Hazards — 1995

A New Style of Architecture
Designed by Californians

An important requirement for a great Exposition is a new type of architecture, a style that will herald building design of the future or a style that will harmonize with its surrounding environment. The Golden Gate International Exposition Architectural Commission was equal to this requirement, and as a result, the new mode, “Pacifica,” was created to embody building motifs from both the eastern and western shores of the Pacific. The commission was first headed by the late George W. Kelham, and was carried to completion under Arthur Brown, Jr., with Lewis P. Hobart, William G. Merchant, Timothy L. Pflueger and Ernest E. Weihe.

To avoid the effect of too great masses, the western elevation is broken by the Northwest Passage leading to the Court of Pacifica and the Portals of the Pacific leading to the Court of Honor. The ramparts of the main portals are spreading in the heavy masses of Malayan pyramids which converge sharply into towers supported by formalized elephants and climaxed by elephant heads and howdahs, emphasizing the Oriental theme.

The huge windowless exhibit palaces, 100 feet high, give the effect of an ancient walled city, and the interior courts with long rows of square pilasters are reminiscent of Angkor Wat. Mingling Oriental, Cambodian and Mayan styles in the lesser masses and details, an effect of basic beauty, refinement and richness is interwoven with a mystical touch of yesterday. Exterior color schemes offer repose, dignity and a beauty of balance in masses and contrasts.

Arthur Brown, Jr., designed the Court of Honor and Tower of the Sun; Lewis P. Hobart did the Court of Reflections and Court of Flowers; the late George W. Kelham planned the Court of the Moon, Court of Seven Seas, and Treasure Gardens, which were carried to completion by J.H. Clark; William G. Merchant designed the Tower of the East, the Temple Compound, and Pacific House. The Court of Pacifica, the Federal Building, the California State Building and Auditorium were designed by Timothy L. Pflueger; and Ernest E. Weihe is responsible for the west facade, including the Elephant Towers at the Northwest Passage and the Portals of the Pacific.

The foreign pavilions and other outstanding structures were designed by prominent American and foreign architects.

From: Official Guide Book
Golden Gate International Exposition - 1939

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