Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1939 Nostalgia: Back to the World of Tomorrow

World of Tomorrow

Location: Reaction Grid, NY World's Fair

Since I'll be doing a feature on Reaction Grid for Prim Perfect, I simply could not resist featuring the build of the 1939-1940 New York World's Fair. It was "The World of Tomorrow," baby, and by 1960 we'd have 10-lane superhighways elevated above robotic farms, planned cities, and 100 mph mass transit running from Pleasantvilles spread over the map like 1000 Greenbelt Marylands.

Heady stuff. In fact, a virtual world rendered in 1/18 scale.

Funny thing, but the first thing I saw in Reaction Grid exists in real life, a few miles from my house.

Belgian Pavilion rear

image credit: Jenosale at Flickr

Iggy materialized about where I’d left him on his last visit: the NY World’s Fair managed by Trivia Tiratzo and built by Joey Cernov. I wrote an entire chapter of my doctoral dissertation on The World of Tomorrow, the Fair’s official name. The entire two-sim homage to the Fair (many sims would be needed to do it all) demonstrates the power of megaprim builds in OpenSim.

Since my last visit, I spotted a new building on the grounds: the pavilion for Belgium designed by Henri van de Velde. By chance, it not only is one of the few buildings left from the Fair, but it was moved to Richmond VA and rebuilt, where it serves as offices for Virginia Union University. It had been the university’s library as well. My dad went to that building to sign up for Navy duty in 1941, a couple of days after the Pearl Harbor attack.

Eerie coincidence, that, but compelling. I pointed Iggy into the building and looked around.
Belgian Pavilion

I noted that the entire building is done in brick in RG, whereas the actual structure as it stands today reflects its 1939-40 design, with a slate-clad central tower (notorious for leaking, a faculty member at VUU told me, when it housed rare books!) with radiator-fin d├ęcor right out of Flash Gordon.

I'll have more to say about this build, as well as Jokay Wollengong's work in Reaction Grid, in the next issue of Prim Perfect.

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