A rare scale architectural model of the façade of the Hall of Science building at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair, a streamlined, modernist Art Deco structure that exemplified the fair’s theme “A Century of Progress International Exhibition.” The U-shaped building was designed by Philadelphia architect Paul Cret, and featured a 176-foot carillon tower.
On the model, raised relief letters to the left of the main entrance of the front of the building read “Chicago 1934” and “Hall of Science.” It has a circular threaded bracket in the back that originally held a light bulb socket for use as a table lamp. When turned on, the bulb would create the effect of a backlit building with illuminated windows (pierced openings in the main tower on the model) approximating the appearance of the actual building at night. This lit image was described in the fair’s Official Guide Book: “The Hall of Science of A Century of Progress at night has the appearance of a brilliantly illuminated metal and glass creation, rising from colored terraces.” Indeed, the entire fairground was designed to be dramatically lit after sundown, using concealed and projected lighting, both white and colored, and the height and visibility of the Hall of Science made it stand out.
The Chicago World’s Fair celebrated the centenary of Chicago and was held in Burnham Park along Lake Michigan in the Near South Side neighborhood. After the fair’s successful run in 1933, it was renewed for an additional year, closing in October 1934, after which the fairgrounds were disassembled. As such, this model remains as a document of a building that no longer exists.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light oxidation, metal fatigue (causing minor cracks) and wear. Original gold wash finish quite worn, leaving overall pewter appearance. Lacking original electrical fittings, but new replacements can be installed if desired at seller’s expense.
“At the Hall of Science.” Official Guide Book of the Fair 1933. Online at Cityclicker.net. http://www.cityclicker.net/chicfair/science.html (25 May 2012).
“A Century of Progress Exposition.” The University of Chicago Library Digital Activities & Collections. 2004. http://century.lib.uchicago.edu/about.html (16 March 2006).
“A Century of Progress Records: An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago.” University of Illinois at Chicago University Library. http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll/services/rjd/findingaids/COP10f.html (19 April 2012).
“Chicago World’s Fair 1933-1934 — : A Century of Progress.” Dickinsonian.com. 14 March 2012. http://www.dickinsonian.com/worlds_fair_post_cards.htm (25 May 2012).
“Colors and Lights.” Cityclicker.net. http://www.cityclicker.net/chicfair/colors.html (25 May 2012).