The Expo Blog is a space for posts on the history, themes, legacies and experience of Expos. It includes articles from the BIE and external contributors.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, International Specialized Expos, Horticultural Exhibitions and the Design Triennale di Milano.
While the legacy of a World Expo is often judged in the weeks and months following its closure, the long term contribution to the host city continues to evolve over decades. The latest announcement from Seville - that the Pavilion of the Future from Expo 1992 will become a regional Archive Centre – proves this, showing that even 24 years later, a pavilion built for the Expo can continue to attract interest and investment.
The Pavilion of the Future was one of the largest and most iconic buildings built for Expo 1992 in Seville, hosting the thematic areas of the Universe, Telecommunications, Energy and the Environment. Designed by the architects Martorell, Bohigas, Macklay and engineer Peter Rice, the 25,019 m2 building features a waveform roof and a free-standing façade composed of 11 semi-circular stone arches made from Rosa Poriña granite from Galicia. Located on the city’s Isla de la Cartuja, the Pavilion of the Future neighbours the ‘Seville Rocket’, a full-scale replica of the Ariane Four launch system.
The New York World’s Fair, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of George Washington’s presidential inauguration, was a momentous occasion for New Yorkers and for the world, attracting some 45 million visitors over its two seasons in 1939 and 1940. The Expo was also a remarkable event for fans of superheroes, as it staged the first ever appearance of Superman. Previously confined to comic books and radio shows, it was on 3 July 1940 that visitors could come to the Expo and for the very first time see the superhero in the flesh.
On this day, known as Superman Day, the cost of a children’s ticket to the Expo was reduced from 50 cents to 5 cents, encouraging visitors to attend. The event was the brainchild of publicist Allen ‘Duke’ Ducovny, with the aim of attracting more visitors to the Expo and boosting sales of the 100-page special edition of DC’s New York World’s Fair Comics, which was only on sale on the Expo site.
Expo 1970 in Osaka may have closed to the public more than 45 years ago, but the former Expo site continues to attract visitors. Today, locals and tourists alike have another reason to visit, with the opening of a 123-metre Ferris wheel – the largest in Japan and fifth largest in the world - in Osaka’s Expocity. The Redhorse Osaka Wheel provides riders with a breathtaking view of the Tower of the Sun, the iconic symbol of Expo 1970.
Since Expo 1970 came to an end, the original site has been partly preserved and partly renovated, allowing it to hold onto the Expo’s legacy while offering new activities to attract visitors. The 330-hectare site boasts a range of attractions, including the memorial park, a children’s museum, and ‘Expocity’ – Japan’s largest commercial complex in which the Redhorse Osaka Wheel is located.
After ending its highly praised exhibition as the UK Pavilion at Expo 2015 Milan, The Hive, winner of the BIE gold medal for architecture and landscape (pavilions less than 2,000m2), is starting a new life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in London. The iconic structure will be open to the public tomorrow, Saturday 18 June.
Expo 2015 Milan was organised under the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, and the Hive was the centrepiece of the UK’s participation in the Expo. The pavilion, which received over 3 million visits during the Expo, was designed by renowned architect Wolfgang Buttress and was dedicated to the role of bees in carrying out pollination. The contribution of these insects as pollinators is necessary for the reproduction of many plant species, making bees crucial to the global ecosystem and to the food chain. The Hive’s message draws attention to the importance of protecting bee species.
Today marks 30 years since the Mies van der Rohe’s pavilion was rebuilt in its original place for the enjoyment of Barcelona’s residents and in homage to its architect.
The Pavilion, originally designed for the World Expo 1929 by the prominent German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, served as the German national pavilion and was the venue for the reception of King Alfonso XIII of Spain as well as many German political figures.