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The Symbolic Area

The Symbolic Area was also designed by Kenzo Tange. The centre of the area, the Festival Plaza, was covered with a giant polyester roof on a framework of steel pipes - 103 metres wide, 292 metres long, fixed to the floor and held 30 metres up by only 6 pillars. Although these dimensions were big in themselves, they still didn't match the size of the Crystal Palace erected at the World Exposition in London in 1851.

Services, such as lighting and TV-recordings were rendered by giant robots - symbolic figures of the science fiction-like architecture. The roof was penetrated by the theme pavilion, the 70 metre high "Tower of the Sun". Taro Okamoto, the "Picasso of Japan" designed this tower as a monstrous giant with three faces. The outstretched welcoming arms allowed the visitors to climb to the roof zone of the plaza in which additional exhibits were also placed. Contemporaries described the tower as a "gigantic garden gnome" or a "melting snow man with a potato-nose face". Inside the tower, a series of escalators allowed visitors to explore the tree of life, on a journey through time presenting very effectively the history of human evolution.

The thematic exhibition as a whole was spread across three levels: below ground was home to the world of the past, where a mysterious atmosphere provided the backdrop to the themes of the origin of humankind and human cultures. At ground level all pavilions together were intended to provide an insight into the present-day world, a world full of the dynamics of human endeavour, achievement and harmony, whereas the roof was the realm of the world of the future - showing progress in the form of futuristic architecture and machines.

Connected to the roof was the large EXPO hall, a temporary museum of the fine arts with masterpieces sourced from all cultures across the world while on the southern section was an international bazaar, the administration building and - a final highlight, the 120 metre high EXPO Tower made of three slim columns with many viewing platforms looking out across the EXPO site and the plain of Osaka.

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The Osaka World Exposition 1970
The Exposition Site: Model City of the Future
Year: 1970City: OsakaCountry: Japan
Duration: 5 March - 13 September 1970



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