expo 67 lounge

Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

8 July 2006

Expo Architecture: Theme Pavilions

During the planning stages of Expo 67, most of the pavilions were designed before the actual content of these pavilions was decided.

The architects of the Man the Explorer and Man the Producer theme pavilions were faced with a problem: how to quickly and inexpensively put up large buildings, with polyvalent spaces adaptable to either small exhibits or enormous displays?

A model of the Man the Explorer pavilion.

The architects decided to use the truncated tetrahedron shape as a sort of building block, to obtain the spaces needed for exhibits that didn't exist yet. The truncated tetrahedron is like a triangle with the corners cut off. Thousands of steel units in this shape would be stacked and joined together, creating the massive trelliswork required for these pavilions.

The original theme pavilion designs were elegant.

The initial idea was a good one, the designs and models of these buildings were elegant. Then, another problem arose: there weren't enough steel welders in Canada to weld the units together! Instead, they were bolted, which required heavy bracing to be solid. The result was an oppressive metal structure, which quickly rusted.

The end result was rather oppressive.

The Man the Explorer complex, with the U.S. pavilion in the background.

I have a love/hate relationship with these pavilions. I do find them rather ugly, but totally cool at the same time...

An aerial view of the Man the Producer complex on Île Notre Dame.

photos: (1) westland.net/expo67
(2) courtesy DC Hillier
(3) alamedainfo.com
(4) unknown source
(5) personal collection
(6) library and archives Canada

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Blogger Will Kane said...

Great site Jason.

I recently posted some Expo 67 postcards on my own blog.

8:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought Man the Producer was the coolest, with its' pretend assembly lines, and the machines like the one that endlessly shook nuts and bolts together, then separated them.

Man and the Polar Regions had a splendid film, where the audience moved.

They were absolutely massive, and built to last to the end of time, which is probably why they're still there today.

1:58 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

For accuracy's sake, and much to my chagrin, these pavilions do not exist anymore.

They were torn down in 1986.

1:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If i well remember, the one on ste-Helene island was partly destroyed by fire around 1980. (seen in newspaper)

3:03 am  
Blogger Lemog3d said...

Great website... always very interesting to watch these memories.
I'm french and specialized in world's fairs reconstructions in 3D (especially french expo), and I currently collaborate with the Bureau Internation des Exposition, on a project that will include 3d reconstructions of various parts of several expos, and the 1867 Montreal in part. I chose to to built this one, Man the Producer. I think that is most representative of this exhibition is both a theme pavilion, and a great symbol.
Currently I'm at the stage of research documentation, because I need many to do these 3D reconstructions, and whenever possible plans. I will start to work on it certainly around the last month of 2010.
Bonne continuation.
Laurent ANTOINE "LeMog"

5:09 pm  

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