Walter Dorwin Teague

1939 New York City World’s Fair

Last but not least, this wildly successful project deserves to be put in Walter Dorwin Teague’s portfolio because it was one of (if not THE) most grand thing he ever did. Teague worked with people from all over the nation and world to pull off dozens of buildings, exhibits, and showcases during one of the largest fairs that America has ever put off. As I described the event in his bio: “In the height of the Great Depression: built upon the ashes of a broken country, and the former location of an ash dump, the 1939 New York World’s Fair was planned to be held in Queens, New York. The theme was ‘the World of Tomorrow.’ And Walter Dorwin Teague was put in charge of a large piece of that ‘tomorrow,’ working with engineers to design and construct several of the buildings, including the DuPont tower, the U.S Steel building, and of course, the Kodak building. The fair was open for half of the year, with millions and millions of viewers coming and going, a grand statement for anyone’s portfolio. Teague even received the honor of designing the interior of the U.S Government State Dining Room where he placed his own line of ‘Embassy’ glasses on the table.”

Each building, glass, souvenir, exhibit, and partnership in this suit of his work deserves to be talked about, but there would simply be too much to discuss. It’s hard to comprehend that he and his team were able to pull off a large, steel dome, a giant light-up tower (made to look like a scientific flask shooting out chemical explosions), and a massive wall of projected Kodak photos was manageable for something created so quickly, existing so temporarily. Teague cared about it all: from the large buildings, all the way down to the little details he put into his other pieces of work, such as the World’s Fair branded Kodak camera design, and the carefully selected glasses which were the right amount of sophisticated and exciting for special occasion government use. He sure did love to serve the American people, and this was the most perfect, joyous occasion for that timeframe. He pointed observers and users, truly, to hope in the ‘World of Tomorrow,’ looking to a brighter future where war and depression would be over. Interestingly, many of these designs, though old fashioned in some ways, have a modern look to them and would not be completely unexpected or unusual if built nowadays.

Walter Dorwin Teague, 1939 NYC Worlds Fair

Walter Dorwin Teague, 1939 NYC Worlds Fair

Walter Dorwin Teague, 1939 NYC Worlds Fair, Embassy Glasses, 1933

Walter Dorwin Teague, 1939 NYC Worlds Fair Souvenir