Photography: Joseph A

The New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair could be in line for a radical makeover following the launch of an ‘anything goes’ competition to revive the structure.

Along with the local People for the Pavilion group, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has called on the public to pitch ideas on reinventing the Philip Johnson-designed structure for the 21st century.

‘After decades of disuse and deterioration, this one-of-a-kind structure is poised for a dramatic comeback…but as what?’ asks the National Trust.

‘Together, we will spark a conversation about the value of historic preservation and this irreplaceable structure by engaging the residents of Queens in re-imaging one of its most significant assets.’

New York State Pavilion
Photography: Picomeanslittle

When designing the pavilion in Flushing Meadows, Johnson called it ‘an unengaged free space as an example of the greatness of New York, rather than a warehouse full of exhibit material’.

The concrete and steel construction has been disused since 1976 – when its roof and panels were dismantled – save for appearances in TV and film, including Men in Black.

Anybody looking to enter the competition may also find some inspiration in Iron Man 2, in which the pavilion becomes a centrepiece for Tony Stark’s own Expo.

New York State Pavilion
Photography: Brendan Crain

The New York State Pavilion’s demise is one example of the uncertain legacy left behind by a World Expo. Other buildings, such as the Eiffel Tower or Seattle Space Needle, have had a lasting impact on their respective city’s urban make-up.

Ideas to revive the structure must be submitted by 1 July and anyone over the age of 13 – architect or not – can enter.

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