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Bill Cotter

One of my favorite pavilions

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Same here. 

When dad took me on rides to see the construction Bell was part of the "backyard" of the fair skirted by the Van Wyck, as opposed to the Grand Central which cut through the middle. As a kid I marvelled at the futuristic building shapes totally foreign to my world of NYC rectangles.

If memory serves, the pavilions here turned their backs to the highway showing their service sides, whereas GM and the others presented more of a thoughtful public front. 

Saarinen's TWA terminal at JFK and the tower at LaGuardia were also part of the new architectural landscape of the early 60s that awed this 7 year old. 

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I cannot imagine any building that had the impact that the Bell System pavilion had at the fair. It was the perfect design that totally dominates the Pool of Industry. With the Unisphere at one end and the Bell System at the other end of the fairs main street.   They were fitting bookends. 

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The physical location of the pavilion had a good deal to do with its noteworthy design.  It’s location marked the one departure  the 1964 Fair made from the 1939 Fair,    The building marked the boundary of the 1964 Fair.  In 1939, that location provided the spectacular panorama of Constitution Mall and the Theme Center in one direction and the Court of Peace and the Federal Building in the other direction.  In 1964, the land that was the Court of Peace was not a part of the Fair and the designers of the 1964 Bell System pavilion had to produce a design that would provide stunning backdrop to conclude the vista from the Unisphere.. The architects clearly succeeded.

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There had been plans to use the area behind it in sort of an annex on the other side of the highway, but they were dropped when it became hard to sell plots inside the main site.

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The 1939 Fair was over 1,200 acres and the 1964 Fair was 646 acres.  Just how large was that react of land that held the Court of Peace, the Federal Building and so many international pavilions?  Is it correct that, today, it remains park land?

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