Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ferruccio Vitale and the Century of Progress Exposition

Century of Progress

Ferruccio Vitale and Joseph Urban's cheap and dramatic Avenue of Flags. Unfortunately the photos are almost all in black and white.

Planetarium Today
(It is amazing what we will settle for today when it comes to urban spaces.)

Color Picture of Planetarium

Planetarium then and now. Notice the similarity in the fountains of the Planetarium and Exhibition Garden and Meridian Hill Park fountain.

Century of Progress Exposition
Chicago, Illinois, 1930-1934

Vitale was chosen to represent the ASLA in the development of the second Chicago's Worlds Fair. Vitale would die before finishing this work and Alfred Geiffert, Jr. stepped in to complete the commission. The fair was on the same site that Fredrick Law Olmsted had chosen for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Instead of the Beaux's Arts fair of 1893 the Progress Exposition was "to have a new architecture born out of new technologies, materials, and construction methods, new lifestyles, and a new economy, one that called for sparseness and frugrality..." (Ferruccio Vitale by R. Terry Schnadelbach.) Interestingly the fair was to be about new American Architecture and the Prairie school architects were passed over. Ferruccio Vitale is the Landscape Architect added to the Commission.

It is too bad that Vitale's poor health, untimely death and the great depression hindered his work on the Progress Exposition. The license the fair gave the designers to design at will in this new Modern style was a place for creativity to grow.

I still find some great examples of Landscape Architecture stretching out and adapting to Modern Architecture. Ferruccio Vitale seemed very comfortable expanding out into this world.