and designers went all-out for the design of the fair's buildings.
There never before had been a fair who's architectural focus
had been so all-encompassing. 76 city blocks had been cleared
or filled to set the stage for the exposition, and its final
size was 635 acres, which allowed for the hundreds of buildings
that were built.
of the buildings were constructed with a wood base (in total,
one hundred million feet of lumber were used for the fair),
and then covered in a temporary material called "staff"
-- a combination of plaster and a burlap-type fiber, which had
an easily molded and sculpted texture. Although designed to
only last for the year, the material was able to retain good
buildings had a very strict eight color pastel theme that had
to be adhered to, so that the overall effect was one of complete
unity between the buildings. A similar style in the 1500 sculptures
and murals also enhanced the fair's theme, as well as the 30,000
imported plants, trees, bushes and flowers, including 70,000
rhododendrons. Landscape architect John McLaren (also the designer
of Golden Gate Park) was in charge of the exposition's landscaping,
and worked closely with the many different architects involved
in the project to ensure a harmonious appearance.
tremendous amount of effort also went into the fair's lighting.
GE designed the overall illumination scheme, which involved
thousands of carefully hidden colored spotlights, giving the
buildings a magical glowing look in the evenings. Previous fairs
had used a standard more old-fashioned lighting effect where
thousands of tiny lights bordered the perimeters of building
walls, similar to Christmas lights on houses today. The PPIE
was revolutionary in changing the way that future fairs were
lighting strategy used at this fair was the "Scintillator"
-- a barge that floated out in the San Francisco Bay, packed
with 48 beaming searchlights, that projected seven colors of
light up into sky. This backdrop was made even more amazing
by a locomotive positioned on a platform on the Bay, generating
steam for the lights to reflect from. On many days, however,
the locomotive wasn't necessary, due to San Francisco's natural
fog that served the same purpose.
Tower of Jewels was the tallest building at the fair, which
sparkled with thousands of twinkling free-hanging jewels. Inside
were a variety of large painted murals, depicting allegorical
scenes of such things as Balboa discovering the Pacific Ocean
and the progress of the Panama Canal.
exposition was sometimes referred to as The Domed City, because
of the many buildings with curved-dome tops, including the Palace
of Fine Arts, Festival Hall, the Manufacturers Palace, Liberal
Arts Palace, the Palace of Horticulture and the Palace
of Varied Industries.
Palace of Machinery was the largest palace on the grounds,
with an enormous
space for demonstrating various mechanical techniques. Hearst
ran a giant color press here where they demonstrated printing
the Examiner newspaper. There was a very popular exhibit of
submarine mines and torpedoes. All sorts of exhibits were in
place showing modern America's heavy machinery, machine tools,
steam, gas and oil engines, passenger elevators and hoisting
apparatuses. There were also many electrical exhibits by Westinghouse
state in the Union had a building representing them at the exposition.
Some states designed traditional conservative buildings, while
some tried to use more of a flair for the original by designing
buildings that conveyed a sense of what their state represented.
For example, Oregon's state building was a replica of the Parthenon
-- but instead of Greek marble pillars, they substituted 48
huge redwood trunks, one representing each state in the Union.
Virginia's building was a reproduction of George Washington's
home at Mt. Vernon, and included many pieces of furniture used
by President Washington. The Ohio
Building was an exact reproduction of the State House in
Columbus, minus its dome.
even though there was a World War in progress, almost every
major nation in the world was able to construct a representative
building (see the Norwegian
Building) for their country -- many which were quite exotic