Universal Portland Pavilion

The Universal Portland Cement Co. Exhibition Pavilion was a beautiful and tiny temporary pavilion designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

In this our second collaboration together, Chad Solon and I have been interested in recreating it in the same way we did the Spaulding room.

From here I leave Chad describing the project in his own words:

This small pavilion was commissioned from Wright from the Universal Portland Cement Company (UPCC), to be displayed at the 1910 New York Cement Show at Madison Square Garden. The show only lasted from December 14th through the 20th and then the pavilion was disassembled, never to be seen again. Its disappearance is somewhat of a surprise. The UPCC mentioned the pavilion with pride in the company’s magazine and it seems as though it was meant to be reused at various trade shows across the country, though this never seems to have happened.

Wright himself was clearly quite proud of the diminutive design. When the Ausgefürte Bauten (a collection of photographs of Wright’s built work) was published for the American market in 1911, a large full-page image was included which was not in the earlier European edition. That Wright made the point of adding it clearly shows he felt worthy to be considered among his best work. It is, sadly, the only photo of the pavilion known to us today.

This would not be the last time Wright and the UPCC worked together. Only four years later they would be contracted to do all of the cement work for another of Wright’s lost masterpieces: Midway Gardens. In the design for this pavilion, we can see many of the design elements that later would appear so prominently at the later building– deeply overhanging urns, sculptural vertical elements with lights, and decorative designs made up of small squares. Considering how highly Wright thought of his earlier design, and the fact that he stayed on friendly terms with the UPCC, the total disappearance of his pavilion is as surprising as it is mysterious.

Seeing the pavilion rendered in color, one can see why Wright was so fond of it. Decorated with white, green, and pink unglazed tiles, with a floor and tabletop of green marble, the design comes across as both lively and sophisticated. We have imagined it as if it was installed in a park after its use as a trade show display had come to an end. It would be the perfect place to linger, day or night.

For more information about this project, you can consult the dialogue in the Wright Chat here.

And the complete album of images can be visited here.

I hope you like the result!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    thanks for sharing..!! but it’s not possible to see the complete album, it demands an account

    1. David Romero says:

      Thanks for reporting the error. It should work now

  2. Vivian Ibarra says:

    Is this the story

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