Thursday, April 2, 2009

San Diego 1935: Ford Motor Company Building.....

Situated at the south end of the California-Pacific International Exposition's Plaza de America was the reinforced-concrete Ford Motor Company Building, designed by industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague to represent the latest trend in modern 20th-century industrial architecture. The massive structure was designed in the shape of a massive "8", with a ninety-foot high blue-ribbed rotunda forming the entrance, and providing access to a circular 300-foot diameter exhibit hall. The interior of the rotunda featured two large vertical murals representing "The Spirit of America" and "The Spirit of Asia", and a revolving hemisphere composed of twelve dioramas showing the use of Ford automobiles in various countries bordering the Pacific. In the main exhibit hall the entire process of constructing a modern Ford automobile was explained in detail, from the extraction of the raw materials from the earth to the completed product. Also prominently displayed in the hall were three historic Ford cars, consisting of Henry Ford's first motor-car, constructed in 1893; the first Ford Model-A, built in 1905; and the first Ford Model-T, introduced in 1908. At the building's center was located a spacious open-air flagstone-paved patio, containing shade-trees, flowers, and shrubbery; in addition to a large splashing fountain in the shape of a "V-8", symbolizing the innovative Ford V-8 engine, flanked by displays of the latest models of Ford automobiles. At the rear of the building a broad terrace provided panoramic views of the city and bay of San Diego, and overlooked the half-mile long "Roads of the Pacific", where modern Ford cars were demonstrated along 200-foot sections of fourteen historic roads, reproduced from famous byways found in the Pacific region. At night the front portion of the building was bathed in white-light, from neon-tubes hidden within the hollow steel ribs circling the rotunda; and four enormous groups of letters spelling "FORD", situated around the rotunda's top-rim, glowed in red.

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