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Bill Cotter

The sad final days of the United States Pavilion

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The US has a sad history of demolishing its architecture. This is the same city that bulldozed Pennsylvania Station just a few years earlier. And for what? The US pavilion never had a viable chance at survival.

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Is it me or does it seem as if there really wasn't all that much to the superstructure of this building? I mean, considering its size, there really isn't all that much steel in the framework.

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Even those first photos, Bill? What was there to the building? All the framework had to do was support the exterior wall. To a large extent, wasn't it a fairly simple structure?

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Simple looking once finished, but from an engineering standpoint, it was actually one of the most complicated and daring structures at the Fair. The cantilever design had to be totally load bearing on those four relatively small pivot points. The stair structure in the middle supported nothing but itself. There were huge cantilevered overhangs on all four sides.

This article does a good job explaining it.

http://www.nywf64.com/unista06.shtml

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What I meant by simple in that post is that the walls were not load bearing, did not contain insulation or sheetrock or much of anything besides the outer skin of the structure. The job of the steel was to provide a support for that fiberglass exterior and not much else. Regardless of how it was supported on the pylons, the whole thing appears to have been a text book example of a temporary structure and the cost of turning it into something--anything--with a viable post-Fair use must have been very cost prohibitive. And so, standing there without a purpose, it began to deteriorate and they had to tear it down. It was a victim of an age when resources seemed limitless and waste was not considered to be a vice.

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The steel was load bearing in the same way that a cantilever bridge is load bearing.

I'm sure it was not the federal government that said to tear it down. They had given it as a gift to the city.

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I like to know. Who was the one that said tear it down ? Was it the city / state / or the US government ? What person?

I guess the question with any of these buildings was "What would you DO with it?" There are already a couple of museums. Would they use it as an office building in the middle of a park? Sadly, there was probably no good purpose for it where it sat.

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I always thought the U.S. Pavilion would have made a great community college. Seems like a perfect campus, with lots of grass, sculpture and walkways around it.

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