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Architecture and San Francisco’s Fairs

San Francisco Public Library
Nov 21, 02:00PM – 03:30PM

The San Francisco History Center invites you to two talks about San Francisco’s Fairs and architecture:

Automobiles and Arches at the PPIE
A century ago, visitors to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition came upon an architectural fantasy of ornate towers, domes, portals and cloistered courts. Inside the Palaces, they encountered industrial and commercial exhibits set within enormous spaces bounded by exposed wood scaffolding. The experiential and qualitative contrast between the exterior and the interior was one of the defining characteristics of the Exposition. However, while the architects and sculptors took pains to keep the two worlds apart, one emissary of the industrial realm enjoyed special dispensation to roam about the axes, courts and grounds of the imperial city: the automobile. Mark D. Kessler, Associate Professor at UC Davis, speaks about the unlikely affinity between the transformative and forward-looking automobile and the romantic incarnation of historical architecture on view at the PPIE.

Mark D. Kessler is an architect and an associate professor of design at UC Davis. He is the author of, The Early Public Garages of San Francisco: An Architectural and Cultural Study: 1906 – 1929, published by McFarland Books.

Regionalism and the Architecture of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition
This book talk will discuss the architecture of the Golden Gate International Exposition in light of the many strands of regionalism expressed at the fair. From the California pavilions, William Wurster’s Yerba Buena Club, and Timothy Pflueger’s Federal Building to the attempt to synthesize a “Pacific Architecture,” the buildings of the exposition explored regionalism at the very moment that the International Style posed an end to it.

Andrew Shanken, Associate Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley and author of Into the Void Pacific: Building the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair, will discuss architecture of the Golden Gate International Exposition.

A book sale and signing will follow the event.

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