WELCOME TO THE FUTURE: CENTURY 21 AND LIVING MODERN
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair
As a project of The Next Fifty, Docomomo WEWA and Historic Seattle present a three-part lecture series at Seattle Center in June 2012 that focuses on the architecture and design heritage of the Seattle World’s Fair and its influence and impact beyond the Fair’s original campus. As part of the larger six-month long (April – October 2012) 50th anniversary celebration organized by the Seattle Center Foundation (“The Next Fifty”), we are thrilled to present talks by Knute Berger, Susan Boyle and Theo Prudon.
The project was first conceived in late 2010 as both Historic Seattle and Docomomo WEWA were looking ahead to the 50th anniversary of the Century 21 Exposition. With Docomomo WEWA as the regional experts on mid-century modern architecture and Historic Seattle as a leading local organization dedicated to educating the public about Seattle’s architectural legacy, the two entities joined forces to collaborate on producing a lecture series on a seminal event in Seattle’s history.
World’s fairs have historically been showcase events for the cities that play host to them. The Century 21 Exposition was no exception. It was master planned to include permanent buildings to be used after the fair ended in October 1962. Fair planners envisioned the site to be a central gathering place for Seattle residents and visitors year-round for a variety of activities (sports, entertainment, festivals, the arts, etc.). Master planned by influential Seattle architect Paul Thiry, the Seattle World’s Fair has had a lasting legacy on our modern built environment. The lecture series goes beyond what happened at the Fair and looks to its influence outside the campus, in Seattle and Puget Sound. Our project shows the context of the times and how a world’s fair helped place Seattle on the map and into the collective consciousness of Americans. The most iconic structures from the World’s Fair, the Space Needle, Monorail and the arches of the Pacific Science Center, have come to symbolize Seattle.
Related projects have developed from our preparation for the lecture series. We conducted extensive research on the architectural history of the Seattle World’s Fair and worked with a professional photographer, Graham Syed, to produce contemporary views of the fairgrounds using historic images to photograph the same views today. We share the products from our research and re-photography projects with you in the blog.
This project is a collaborative effort involving the following co-sponsors:
The Next Fifty
Pacific Science Center (co-sponsor, June 19 lecture)
4Culture (partial project funding through 2011 Heritage Special Projects grant – $5,000)
National Trust for Historic Preservation (partial project funding through 2011 Preservation Fund Grant – $2,000)
Special thanks to lecture series speakers:
We are grateful to the following volunteers:
Lauren Perez – Historic Seattle World’s Fair Intern (Spring/Summer 2011); Columbia University graduate student in historic preservation and planning
Graham Syed – Graham Syed Photography
Dylan Glenn – Historic Seattle Advocacy Intern (Spring 2012); Seattle University student in history
Image credit, large Home page rendering - “Century 21 Exposition: America’s Space Age World’s Fair, Seattle, USA, 1962,” Seattle Public Library Century 21 Collection [spl_c21_2737621]