TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — World’s Fairs are international exhibits displaying a nation’s achievements. They’re the Olympics of technology, architecture, and engineering.
“They offer a vertical slice in the timeline of history," said Lisa Schrenk, Associate Professor, Architectural History. "So you can see what’s happening in a whole bunch of different disciplines and areas and how they’re coming together in that moment in time.”
Lisa Schrenk at the University of Arizona has studied World’s Fairs for almost 30 years. She’s also gone to a few, including the most recent World’s Fair in Dubai.
“There’s also this kind of disconnect from the everyday world," Schrenk said. "These wonderful, spectacular places that are magical.”
The larger world’s fairs happen every five years, last for six months, and cost around 80 billion dollars. Some innovations that came from these fairs include telephones, Heinz ketchup, and Hershey’s Chocolate. Architectural feats include the Eiffel Tower, that was built specifically for Paris’ World Fair in 1889 and ferris wheels at Chicago’s World Fair in 1893.
"There weren’t tall buildings, people weren’t used to those aerial views, there weren’t airplanes,” Schrenk said.
The United States hasn't hosted a World’s Fair since 1984. Schrenk and assistant professor Altaf Engineer are collaborating with a team in Minnesota to bring a world’s fair to the twin cities in 2027. The theme would be around health technologies.
“The city has a thriving healthcare industry and technologies related to health care and therefore the team they’re proposing is directly related to that,” said Altaf Engineer, Asst. Professor, School of Architecture.
Engineer and Schrenk recently taught a seminar in which architecture students researched world’s fairs. Students also traveled to Minnesota and wrote a book at the end of the class with design ideas that could be implemented into the 2027 Fair.
“It’s great exposure for our students to be working with real-world partners and there’s so much opportunity for creativity,” Engineer said.
The 2027 World’s Fair location will be announced in November.
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