Image from WorldsFairPhotos.com, the Bill Cotter collection, with our sincere thanks.
Man in the Community
|Can you close your eyes and imagine a
world without cities...open country before Man to the end of his World?
Way back in time it seemed to Man in the Community like that: but the world of the Man in the Community Theme Pavilion at Expo 67 is complete in its contrast and completely new.
Man's passion for modern city-communities began only in history's yesterday. And today already they are everywhere, even near the North Pole, enormous, swarming, attractive, repulsive.
Tomorrow they will cover the world: within a mere score of years over half the people on earth will live in city-communities of at least 100,000 population.
This is the vision then of Man in the Community, striking pavilion in Cité du Havre of which the architectural form suggests at once the power of a rocket and the elegance of a spire, a slender pyramid with trellis work of wood from the shores of Canada's Pacific Coast. Between Habitat 67 and the Labyrinth pavilion, it is convenient to the Habitat Expo-Express station.
When it rains, the drops fall through the open roof into a pond in the center of the pavilion. A garden extends beyond the pavilion's outer walls, round the pond and between the exhibit halls.
Daylight filters through a translucent canvas and shields the garden against inclement weather.
The exhibit as a whole comprises seven displays. There is Citérama, a novel spectacle specially designed for the pavilion, a sort of magic kaleidoscope which forms and disintegrates mathematically before the eyes of visitors. A little further on is the small theatre where Czech puppets are used to illustrate the indolence of Man. Urbanissimo, an animated cartoon tells the story of a farmer's love for city life.
Pictures, kinetic sculptures, montages, caricatures, photospheres, manikins, sight and sound, are all used to tell the saga of Man in the cloak which he has created: the City-Community.
The City-Community is a school of today where Man must learn to live with a host of strangers against a background which every day is changing: a place where in spite of technological revolutions he dreams and he loves, where he retains the special quality of individuality which is independent and solitary.
The first urban communities arose in Mesopotamia and on the banks of the Nile over 5,500 years ago: the oldest City-Communities of Man and his World are barely as old as the present century, but already they impose upon Man a new way of living.
The motions essential to Man's life on earth -- to work, to study, to rest, to communicate, to fight, to buy, to eat for example -- have dramatically changed.
Visitors may sympathize with the sentimental reflection of a French countess who asked: "Why the devil are not towns built in the country?"
Indeed Man finds it difficult to acknowledge that he is living in the very first years of a brand new civilization, that presents a formidable succession of challenges in work, in private and family life, in education and equally in leisure: deserted beaches for instance are becoming obsolete, more and more automobiles are roaring from the production lines, the administrative octopus Man has created grows more tentacles.
The exhibits in the Man in the Community Pavilion will certainly entertain. They should encourage appreciation of how the upheavals about us are affecting all our lives.
The gist of the matter is cited in the pavilion's particular theme: We are at once the freest and the most fettered people of all time!
Click here to see a model to scale of the Man in the Community Pavilion.
Click here to see photographs of the construction of the Man in the Community Pavilion.