Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Let's Go! World's Fairs of the 1930s

Did you know there was a World’s Fair in Cleveland in 1936? Neither did I, much less one with an eagle-eye concourse. So fixated is design history on the New York World’s Fair of 1939, with its Finnish Pavilion by Alvar Aalto and Futurama by Norman Bel Geddes, and the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-34, with its glass House of Tomorrow by George Fred Keck that it has tended to forget the others: San Diego, Dallas, Cleveland and San Francisco. “Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s,” an exhibition at the National Building Museum that closes July 10 rights that wrong, contextualizing the period by pointing out themes common across all the fairs, and putting on display photographs, posters, furniture, architectural models and ephemera.