You are on page 1of 6


International Expositions and development of architecture

Akshat Bansal
Sushant school of art and architecture
April, 2014

Effect of Expositions
The aim of this paper is to illustrate the influential role of architectural exhibitions in the development of
debates on architecture. Both the exhibitions and the accompanying publications such as catalogues,
books and magazines play a significant role in shaping and directing architectural discourses. Among the
worth mentioning expositions in the past, some expositions has really brought a change in the
architectural style with time to time.
Columbian Exposition 1893, Chicago
The Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 transformed architecture. Historically, world fairs
functioned to illuminate grand architecture, art, and new inventions. Prior to the Chicago World's Fair,
the United States had contributed to the exhibitions held in London and Paris but had yet to
demonstrate its "technology and cultural prowess" to its European counterparts.
The City Beautiful Movement
The City Beautiful movement emerged in response to the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The
movement was characterized by the classical architecture and landscape designs seen at the fair. Once
visitors returned to their cities, and saw an unorganized and gritty urban landscape in comparison to the
white city, they realized that it was essential for the public welfare to beautify the city. This led to
massive public building projects and the erection of war monuments in many American cities including
St. Louis, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.
In New York City, the urban infrastructure was a chaotic mess, compounded by an influx of immigrants
who lived in poor tenement houses and worked in factories. Nonetheless, the city government lacked
legislative control over aesthetic elements of the city. Accordingly, the movement led to the creation of
numerous art societies seeking to obtain legislative means for aesthetic regulation in the city. This idea
eventually led to the preservation of historic structures for the public good with the passage of the Bard
Act and the New York City Landmarks Law.
Municipal Art Society
Upon returning home from Chicago after the Worlds Fair, prominent New York artists and visitors
realized the potential for New York to gleam as a beacon for the arts and urban design. On a more
fundamental level, artists took with them the idea that art was not just for the elite, but was to be
shared with the public. These artists, including William Vanderbilt Allen and Evageline Blashfield decided
to form the Municipal Art Society. Their mission was to promote the idea that public art was for the
benefit of the public and promoted an enhanced state of being.
After the success of Chicago exposition more and more international level expositions began to happen.

The Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900
In 1900, the world witnessed a grand display of Art Nouveau style of architecture at Pariss Exposition
Universelle. The architecture and design of this World's Fair brought the wonderful Art Nouveau
style into popular culture. The fair was a huge success with over fifty million people visiting it. Art
Nouveau got recognized at world level and was much demand till 191

The Pavilion of Turkey, Paris. The Paris Exposition, Paris
( (

Labelle epoque,Paris. ( Palais des nations, Paris(

Exposition poster, Paris (
The exposition international of decorative arts and industries,
Paris 1925
The international exposition of decorative arts and industries 1925 is considered to be the most
important and significant start to Art Deco. Officially entitled the Exposition Internationale des Arts
Dcoratifs et Industriels Modernes, it was dedicated to the display of modern decorative arts. The
exhibition brought together thousands of designs from all over Europe and beyond. With over 16 million
visitors, it marked the high point of the first phase of Art Deco.
The discovery of Tutankhamuns tomb in November of 1922 spawned a worldwide fascination with all
things Egyptian. It influenced everything from architecture to jewellery.

Ziggurat, (
Art deco architecture between 1925 and 1931.

Art deco Building,New York City( Chrysler Building,New York City(

Art Deco,New York City.( Art Deco building (http;//
New York, 1932
The concept for the exhibition was developed by the director of MoMA, Alfred Barr who asked Henry
Russell Hitchcock, the great historian of modern art and architecture, and Philip Johnson, the architect
known as the curator of the exhibition, to organize the first architectural exhibition at MoMA. By means
of the exhibition and the accompanying publications, the architecture of the early 20th century is
officially announced and labeled as the International Style.
The show ran for six years in America, displaying European modern architecture to American public. It
proved the fact that early Modern Architecture, especially in Europe, had some qualities in common that
announced the existence of an emerging global style.
In a similar way, Johnson codified and popularized the emerging architecture in 1980s as
Deconstructivist Architecture. It should be noted that the terms international style and
deconstruction in architecture are institutionalized, officially recognized after these exhibitions at
MoMA. Whether it is devoted to an individual architect or a movement, exhibitions provide an
operational and productive context, which gives the architectural work a new meaning, situates it in the
culture of architecture, and promotes it commercially and popularized it.
it is called International. In the preface, Barr claims, For Modern Architecture: International
Exhibition, the purpose is to announce the birth of a new emerging style. The principles of the new
style were sought in the works of certain distinguished individuals. The works of these architects
immediately gained a new meaning as the representative of modern architecture, and took place in the
exhibition book, which describes the norms and standards of the International Style. By exposing the
three principles on structure and design that controlled the architecture since the beginning of the 20th
century, the authors created a dominant and global style in architecture, and titled it International
Style. The exhibition as a significant event, in which design principles of the new emerging architecture
were revealed, and a new architectural style was identified, put the objects to a process of
1. we the people project. Art deco movement - 1750-1900. chicago : s.n., 2010.
2. Tabibi,Barahak. Modern architecture:international expositions,. london : Laurence King, 1996.
3. Syphawang Bay. -l'exposition universalle. [Online] 1992-2014.