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World’s Fair Pavilion: Restoring the Tent of Tomorrow

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Matthew Silva’s documentary on New York's World's Fair Pavilion is focused on getting a forgotten modernist structure restored.
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  Matthew Silva's film Modern Ruin
Filmmaker and advocate Matthew Silva is working to get the 1964 New York Pavilion, designed by modernist icon Philip Johnson, restored.
    Matthew Silva's film Modern Ruin Filmmaker and advocate Matthew Silva is working to get the 1964 New York Pavilion, designed by modernist icon Philip Johnson, restored.
  • 
  New York Pavilion 1964 World's Fair
The structure, designed by Philip Johnson, is now a rusted relic.
    New York Pavilion 1964 World's Fair

    The structure, designed by Philip Johnson, is now a rusted relic.

  • 
  New York Pavilion 1964 World's Fair
The massive ring of steel and reinforced concrete piers, dubbed the “Tent of Tomorrow,” once held a cable suspension roof and was clad in a terrazzo floor featuring a Texaco highway map of the state. It was a platform for New York, and homegrown companies like Kodak and CorningWare, to show off to the world, and as critic Louise Huxtable said, “a sophisticated frivolity…seriously and beautifully constructed … a ‘carnival’ with class.”
    New York Pavilion 1964 World's Fair

    The massive ring of steel and reinforced concrete piers, dubbed the “Tent of Tomorrow,” once held a cable suspension roof and was clad in a terrazzo floor featuring a Texaco highway map of the state. It was a platform for New York, and homegrown companies like Kodak and CorningWare, to show off to the world, and as critic Louise Huxtable said, “a sophisticated frivolity…seriously and beautifully constructed … a ‘carnival’ with class.”

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  1964 World's Fair
It’s often said that in the borough of Queens, one of the most culturally diverse places on Earth, everyday is a world’s fair. The idiom rang true in 1964 during the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, an optimistic celebration perched at a moment between space age giddiness and late-’60s turbulence (as this pitch-perfect period footage demonstrates).
    1964 World's Fair

    It’s often said that in the borough of Queens, one of the most culturally diverse places on Earth, everyday is a world’s fair. The idiom rang true in 1964 during the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, an optimistic celebration perched at a moment between space age giddiness and late-’60s turbulence (as this pitch-perfect period footage demonstrates).

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  Student's Pavilion Plan
Silva began researching, gradually building a community around those with experience and knowledge of the Pavilion. He spoke to a couple in Cleveland that managed a roller rink that once was located on-site, the members of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, working to restore the structure, and found out about the 1969 concert series, when bands such as The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Santana played under the Tent of Tomorrow. He even made the Pavilion part of his teaching curriculum—the middle school educator has his eighth graders design alternative uses for the pavilion in 2012.
    Student's Pavilion Plan

    Silva began researching, gradually building a community around those with experience and knowledge of the Pavilion. He spoke to a couple in Cleveland that managed a roller rink that once was located on-site, the members of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, working to restore the structure, and found out about the 1969 concert series, when bands such as The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Santana played under the Tent of Tomorrow. He even made the Pavilion part of his teaching curriculum—the middle school educator has his eighth graders design alternative uses for the pavilion in 2012.

  • 
  New York Pavilion 1964 World's Fair
Silva has made great strides in both broadcasting the building’s story and building momentum and support for restoration. He just finished a successful Kickstarter to fund editing of his documentary, “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion,” for release this fall, and his organization, People for the Pavilion, which he co-founded with Salmaan Khan and Christian Doran, has garnered support from people such as New York Landmarks Conservancy Director of Development Scott Leurquin and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and helped expand the conversation about restoration.
    New York Pavilion 1964 World's Fair

    Silva has made great strides in both broadcasting the building’s story and building momentum and support for restoration. He just finished a successful Kickstarter to fund editing of his documentary, “Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion,” for release this fall, and his organization, People for the Pavilion, which he co-founded with Salmaan Khan and Christian Doran, has garnered support from people such as New York Landmarks Conservancy Director of Development Scott Leurquin and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and helped expand the conversation about restoration.

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