NYC Parks breaks ground on $24M project to restore Philip Johnson’s 1964 World’s Fair Pavilion

Posted On Mon, November 11, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, November 11, 2019 By In Architecture, Queens

Rendering of architectural lighting: Silman via NYC Parks

After five years of halting progress, NYC Parks officially broke ground last week on a $24 million project that will preserve the Philip Johnson-designed New York State Pavilion Observation Towers in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The current project represents the first major effort to preserve the Pavilion’s structures since their construction for the 1964 World’s Fair.

New York State Pavilion, world's fair pavilion, philip johnson, new york city department of parks, nyc parks, restoration, flushing meadows, corona park, queens, world's fair, historic sitesPhoto credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Johnson’s “Tent of Tomorrow” measures 350 feet by 250 feet, with sixteen 100-foot columns suspending a 50,000-square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. Three towers within the exhibit measured 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet. The two shorter towers held cafeterias for fair-goers, and the tallest tower, as the highest point of the fair, held an observation deck. The New York State Pavilion also included the adjacent “Theaterama,” which exhibited pop art works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The space was used as the Queens Playhouse from 1972 until 1985.

New York State Pavilion, world's fair pavilion, philip johnson, new york city department of parks, nyc parks, restoration, flushing meadows, corona park, queens, world's fair, historic sitesRendering of architectural lighting: Silman via NYC Parks

New York State Pavilion, world's fair pavilion, philip johnson, new york city department of parks, nyc parks, restoration, flushing meadows, corona park, queens, world's fair, historic sitesPhoto credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

New York State Pavilion, world's fair pavilion, philip johnson, new york city department of parks, nyc parks, restoration, flushing meadows, corona park, queens, world's fair, historic sitesPhoto credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The project will restore the iconic structure and add dynamic architectural lighting to enhance the overall experience of the Pavilion. Work will include waterproofing the tower bases, stair replacement, electrical upgrades, and structural conservation work on the observation towers. Funding for the $24 million project includes a $13.1 million allocation from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, $9 million from Mayor Bill de Blasio, and $1.9 million from Council Member Francisco Moya. In September, 6sqft reported that the project is expected to be completed in March of 2021.

New York State Pavilion, world's fair pavilion, philip johnson, new york city department of parks, nyc parks, restoration, flushing meadows, corona park, queens, world's fair, historic sitesPhoto credit: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver joined Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens Community Board 7 Parks Chair Kim Ohanian and members of People for the Pavilion, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy and Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park in a ground-breaking ceremony on Friday. “The New York State Pavilion is an iconic symbol of the 1964 World’s Fair that keeps us connected to our city’s rich history,” said Commissioner Silver. “We are excited to restore this historic structure for the enjoyment of New Yorkers and visitors.”

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Renderings by Silman via NYC Parks; Photos by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

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Neighborhoods : Flushing Meadows-Corona Park,Queens

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