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Landmark World's Fair

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London amazed us with the Crystal Palace for the 1851 Great Exposition.

Paris erected the Eiffel Tower for the 1883 Exposition Universelle.

Chicago planned out the White City for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

New York City unveiled GM's original Futurama at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Seattle gave us the Space Needle in 1962 for the Century 21 Exposition.

Shanghai showed us the UK's fuzzy cube for Expo 2010.


However, I'm a sucker for the retro-techno look of Osaka Expo '70, and its psychedelically bizarre centerpiece, the Tower of the Sun.




Taiyou no Tou, the "Tower of the Sun," nowadays stands guard over the landscaped parklands of Osaka, but at the time of its creation, this area was the fair grounds for Expo '70, Japan's global showcase for the technology and culture of the future.  On the high altar greeting visitors to the main pavilion stood the Tower of the Sun.




Japanese architects in the 1970s were enamored with the concepts of the Megastructure and Capsules, and Tange Kenzo's space-frame "Big Roof" pavilion was claimed to be the largest roof in the world at that time.  Okamoto Tarou's sculptural tower penetrating through the pavilion roof inadvertently gained its name from controversial right-wing politician Ishihara Shintaro's 1960's novel Taiyou no Kisetsu, "Season of the Sun," which described a shocking scene where a character pokes through a paper screen.  I watched the movie and television adaptations...I can only laugh at the scene, because unlike the intended naughty image, I can now in Freudian fashion only see this tower with scrunched up face and arms akimbo bursting through the shoji.  Climbing up through the inside of the tower is a delicately elaborate and now rarely seen sculpture representing biological evolution called the "Tree of Life."




What can I say, this was made in the late 1960s.  Eat your heart out, Gustav Eiffel!  I understand the tree remains, but the dangling masses of crazy critters are long gone.


Sculptural strangeness aside, it turns out the user lemog at the World's Fair Community forums made a great 3D project of the Big Roof pavilion and the Tower of the Sun.











I thought I was in the BAT forum...they even use similar forum software and templates as Simptropolis!






...the chicken face has Death Ray xenon eyes!


Of course, this is Japan, as model maker Tsuyoshi Nonaka makes all too clear:




I still see it poking through the paper shoji screen.


My local tower in San Antonio for HemisFair '68 was much more, err, restrained...




Hope this was interesting, and enjoy lemog's work at the World's Fair Community forum.

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