2009-11-21

United States Pavilion at Expo 1958 in Brussels, Belgium

I found a box of Expo 58 slides I hadn't seen in a while, and now have a new appreciation for this Expo. Officially called the Brussels World Exhibition 1958, it was the first postwar world's fair, and the architecture and optimism reflects that. The notable metallic Atomium, which still stands as an icon of the fair, is one of the most astonishing buildings of the world.

The United States Pavilion
Architect: Edward D. Stone

The United States focused on "American Humanism" at the fair and portrayed the openess and plentitude of the American life. What was notably missing from the exhibit was the governments obsession with national security. In fact, American enthusiasm towards the fair was lackluster until plans for a monumental Soviet pavilion became public. Things moved quickly from there, and plans for a pavilion as large as the Roman Coliseum were soon finalized.

There's a "typical" American beach here, with a sailboat, grill, outboard motor, people on lounge chairs.


The theme was “Research for the Good of Humanity.” Culture and arts were stressed. The “Cicarama,” a 360° circular theater debuted here.


15 comments:

  1. Both these and the USSR pavilion photographs are truly fantastic... really *dig* this stuff, please keep it coming! :~)

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  2. Hey Amy.
    Yes! There will be more Expo '58 posts. Some of the better slides are yet to come!
    See ya!

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  3. Do you know which American artists exhibited in the American Pavilion in Brussels in 1958?
    My friend Stephanie Franks has recently informed me that at the age of 5(!) she was the youngest exhibitor there, but alas now has no documentary evidence of having taken part in that exhibition, nor indeed any recollection of which other American artists she exhibited WITH! Stephanie continues to paint and exhibit and currently lives in NYC with her husband and daughter.
    I would love to help her out here and would be grateful for any information you may be able to give.
    PatK.

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  4. I just found your site looking thru my box of old post cards. On the postcard is a Stamp with a picture of the exhibit from 1958 . If your interested in a copy of the card I can email it to you to add to the pics on your page . Thanks for taking the time to post the pics. Matthew W.

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  5. I visted Expo 58 and was most impressed by the American Pavilion or should I say USA Pavilion. Does anyone remember a man with a machine strapped to his back and flying straight up to about a height of 50 feet and then manoeuvering the machine left and right with levers before finally descending after a few minutes? All very James Bondish. The colour television was great. I remember with the Circarama there were no seats and everyone stood in a large circular area while the film was projected on about 12 or thirteen screens in a complete circle round the arena. You could see the joins but the Grand Canyon and New York were great. The only trouble was you didn't know which way to look as there were screens all around.

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  6. i was with tghe us Department of State working in the US Pavilion in l958.

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  7. my name is Fred Kahn and i was working for the entire 6 months in the Us pavilion along 200 other guides. I handled the Vips visiting the pavilion , I am fluent in four languages. I have lived since in the Washington DC area and still in contact with co-workers of 1958.

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  8. Is it true that Walt Disney designed the USA pavilion?

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    1. Sorry, it was Edward Durrell Stone, Disney produced the 360degree film in the USA Circarama theater. (me, again)

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  9. I'm working on a documentary project on E.D. Stone. Are these nice photos of the Brussels pavilion available for that sort of purpose?

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  10. my husband has a piece of what he calls glass that his father took out of a huge urn with lights in the bottom. He was only 7 when he was there and doesn't remember which pavilion it was in front of. We can't find any photos of it and would love to know what exactly it is. Does anyone know or remember these sort of decorations?

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  11. My uncle recently told me that he and my aunt visited the fair from the UK and that it was in the American pavilion that they saw colour TV for the first time. He commented that the colour was terrible, but as an electronics engineer himself he must have been impressed to have remembered it over 50 years later!

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  12. I was told at the USA pavillion a Muntz Jet car was on display. Anyone remembers this?

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