The 1893 World’s Fair
A World’s Fair is an “[I]nternational exposition that features exhibits dealing with commerce, industry, and science.” (World Book Encyclopedia 412) Entertainment is also present along with cultural activities. In 1893, the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, although inaugurated a year late, commemorated the discovery of America. I feel that the Exposition displayed some of the more beautiful architecture of its time; its immense buildings and sculptures drew heavily from Greek and other classical styles, and it could possible be because of the sweeping popularity in Beaux Arts architecture.
The Peristyle, one of the buildings that was constructed for the Fair, was designed by Charles B. Atwood. It was an ‘arcade of columns originally proposed by Augustus Saint Gaudens, the consultant on sculpture.” (Burg 79) The Perisytle was a beautiful building that followed in the traditional Greek pathway. It “was a series of forty-eight Corinthian columns, one for each of the American States and Territories, with an immense triumphal arch at the center. J The Peristyle itself was 500’ high, its top being a broad promenade populated by 85 allegorical figures in heroic scale.” (Burg 119) The Greeks used Peristyles in their architecture. A Peristyle was placed around the Greek Parthenon. Corinthian columns were created in the Hellenic era, but they had to wait until the Hellenistic era to reach their full development. J “They are distinguished by their ornate capitals with double rows of acanthus leaves and fernlike fonds rising from each corner and terminating in miniature volutes.” (Fleming 32)
The largest structure at the fair was the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. It housed many murals and paintings of Music and Manufactures or Life. The building was “designed by a New York architect, George B. Post, in the Corinthian style. The Manufactures Building measures 787’ in width and stretched in length of 16897’.” (Burg 132) “Carl Conduit has judged that “The manufactures Building revealed the most extensive and elaborate system of hinged-arched framing ever undertaken in the United States.”” (Burg 97) The arches that are involved were not seen until the Roman’s dominated in the field of architecture.
Another building that was constructed for the fair was the Agricultural Building. “In keeping with the custom of its famous designers, the building was in classical style with the noteworthy feature of a sixty-four foot wide entrance flanked by mammoth Corinthian columns fifty feet high and five in diameter.” (Burg 128) In the middle of the building there was a large dome; the Romans were the first to create and use domes. Both Greek and Roman ideas were incorporated into this building.
(Charles B. Atwood had designed the Palace of the Arts in a Greek-Ionic style, with the addition of the dome. (Burg 147) Van Rensselaer stated, “It is the finest thing on the Fairgrounds, and the finest...