Competition Design for Canadian Building, New York World’s Fair([1939])
New York, NY, USA
Cultural, Government, Pavilion

Client: [Government of the Dominion of Canada]
Architect: W.S. Maxwell & G.M. Pitts

Description: In 1939, the World’s Fair was hosted by the City of New York. The event was characterized by a major display of Modern design. The design for the Canadian Pavilion was the result of a national architectural competition held in 1938. The different projects responded to a change from the concern of nationalism to an attempt to achieve a balance between tradition and Modernism. The winning entries reflected this ideological shift toward modern architectural ideas. William Frederick Williams of Nelson, British Columbia, won the competition with a building of clear forms, unadorned planes, and the use of standard details such as dark-coloured roof flashing and standard casement windows. Two cylinders marked the two-storey high entrance. William Maxwell’s entry consisted of a building composed of two rectangular blocks of clear lines. The exterior could be defined as simplified version of the Beaux-Arts style. The front façade was adorned with sober details, which included Canada’s coat of arms, and two sculptures at the end of a concave wall depicting a mural. The lateral elevations were composed of simplified friezes and pilasters with attached flagpoles. The exhibition space consisted of a two-storey high steel structure with a total area of 17,032 square feet. This proposal showed William’s talent as a designer in the Beaux-Arts style but also demonstrated his capacity to adapt that style to the Modern principles

Holdings: Pavilion
1 Photograph: plan and elevations

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