Tuesday, March 31, 2009

San Diego 1935: Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries.....

The Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries was located on the east side of the California-Pacific International Exposition's Plaza de America, immediately south of the Federal Building. Architect Richard Requa designed the structure to represent the similarities in mass and form between ancient Mayan, Aztec and modern 20th-century architecture. The large rectangular building consisted of plain unadorned walls, decorated with vine-filled planter boxes at the parapet level; while centered along the front facade was a large projecting marquee-style entrance portal, decorated with Mayan and Aztec style fibre-wallboard ornamentation. The floor of the building's entrance featured a colored-concrete panel representing "Electricity and Industry", and a large verdigris-finished panel, located over the entrance, depicted various forms of industry, carved in high-relief. Within the building were located many electrical and industrial exhibits, the main feature of which was the "House of Magic" where popcorn was popped with ice and music transmitted over a beam of light, among other amazing wonders. Electrical demonstrations were presented in a 300-seat theatre, where lecturers explained the intricate details of modern electrical science; while a large-scale "Electric Farm" showed how electricity could be used to improve rural living.

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