Monday, March 16, 2009

San Diego 1935: House of Hospitality.....

The House of Hospitality was situated across from the Café of the World, at the south-east corner of the Plaza del Pacifico and the Avenida de Palacios, and had been known as the Foreign and Domestic Arts / Foreign Arts Building during the 1915-16 exposition. The structure was extensively remodeled, prior to the California-Pacific International Exposition, using the insurance compensation received after the Civic Auditorium fire of 1925. In the building's re-design, architect Richard Requa placed an open-air patio at the center, added a second floor, and created a terraced garden on the south side facing the canyon, where a projecting wing of the building had been removed due to deterioration. The rectangular interior patio was based on one found in Guadalajara, Mexico; and contained a paved court with palm and tropical-plant filled planter-beds at each corner, surrounded by arched open-galleries. An octagon-shaped polychrome-tile covered fountain was placed at the patio's center; and featured a stone representation of a native Mexican woman, created by local sculptor Donal Hord, pouring water from an olla into a tiled pool. A small stone well, with a wrought-iron exedra, was located at the south-east corner of the patio; and multi-color glazed pots, filled with varieties of flowers, were hung from the patio's iron railings. On the south side of the building was situated a triple-terraced garden, copied from one in Ronda, Spain, known as the Casa del Rey Moro Garden. The rectangular upper terrace, adjoining the building's arched two-level south gallery, was paved in herringbone-patterned brick and flanked by two vine-covered pergolas. At the center of the terrace was a polychrome-tile fountain, with a delicately perforated imitation-alabaster fountain-head. Two iron-railed brick stairways led down to the middle terrace, which was faced by a semi-circular fountain niche, surrounded with colorful tile. The middle terrace contained two large flower-filled planter-beds, edged with ball-shaped shrubs. A pair of curving iron-railed brick stairways led to the lower terrace; which contained four small planter-beds, a brick-bordered lily-pond, and a stone well with a double-column supported exedra. Curved benches, built into the garden's low retaining wall, overlooked the lushly landscaped canyon below. The interior of the House of Hospitality contained several beautifully decorated meeting and banquet rooms, offices for exposition officials, and a 600-seat auditorium. The auditorium was accessed from the central patio, and entered through a massive set of panelled and stencilled doors, surrounded by a wide intricately-carved stone frame. The Casa del Rey Moro Café, located on the south side of the building's ground-floor, contained a spacious and colorfully-stencilled Spanish-style dining room; and also featured al-fresco dining, beneath floral-patterned umbrellas, on the Casa del Rey Moro Garden's upper terrace.

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