Photography: Brendan Crain

A two-year refurb of Philip Johnson’s World’s Fair pavilion begins this month in New York, after $24m of funding was raised to restore the space age ruin.

The 1964 structure has long been closed and is in dire need of repair after years of neglect. Johnson designed it as an amphitheatre and exhibition hall, and it was the tallest building at the event – which took place in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

New York State Pavilion pictured in 1964
New York State Pavilion pictured in 1964

Its central space, the Tent of Tomorrow, originally had a brightly coloured plastic roof as well as striped interiors, designed to reference the circus big top. Inside a giant road map showed New York landmarks. It briefly served as a roller skating rink in the 1970s but was shut as the structure began to deteriorate.

Aside from a coat of fresh yellow paint, the pavilion has been left to decay until now. Plans for the New York State Pavilion’s refurb include rebuilding stairways and repairing concrete, replacing suspension cables, restoring flooring, and a creating new lighting scheme. The two observation towers will also be waterproofed and restored.

The refurb is expected to complete in 2021 though its reopening date has yet to be confirmed.

Philip Johnson’s space age World’s Fair pavilion is getting a refurb
Photography: Brendan Crain
Philip Johnson’s space age World’s Fair pavilion is getting a refurb
Photography: George Garrigues

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