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Pan-American Exposition of 1901

Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building1

BY GEORGE F. SHEPLEY, of Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge

THE Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building occupies a space 350 by 500 feet, with a courtyard in the center 132 by 170 feet. A cloister extends around the interior of this courtyard, and it was intended to place in the center a fountain surrounded by statues and ornamental trees; but after the building was completed it was found necessary to roof the courtyard over in order to provide more space for exhibits. The south or principal front of the building, which is 500 feet long, faces the Court of the Cypresses. In the center of this front is placed the principal feature of the building, which is a great dome rising to a height of 130 feet, surrounded by four towers. At the corners of the building are pavilions surmounted with smaller domes. The west façade, toward the Court of the Fountains, is kept simple and low in order to give greater value to the Electric Tower at the end of the Court of Fountains. A little more prominence is given to the front on the Mall, where the entrance is under a pediment some 96 feet in height, which is surmounted by winged figures. The east front, which faces the Canal, is treated in a similar manner to the west front. The building is entered from the center of all four sides, and also from the pavilions on the corners. An arcaded loggia, with a groined ceiling, extends around the building on all sides and gives a convenient resting-place sheltered from the sun and rain.

The treatment of the exterior is a free treatment of Spanish Renaissance, the idea being to give, by means of color and decoration, an expression of gaiety and lightness as far removed as possible from the serious buildings of other exhibitions held in this country. The cornice is formed by the rafters of the roof projecting over, and is treated richly with color and carving. On the front of the building, between the arches, are placed the seals of the governments of the various South American republics. Over the main entrance is a group of statuary typifying the Arts and Manufactures. This group and the winged figures over the entrance on the Mall are by Mr. Bela Pratt of Boston.


1. Text quoted directly from the Art Hand-Book, Official Handbook of Architecture and Sculpture and Art Catalogue to the Pan-American Exposition. Ed. David Gray. Buffalo, N.Y.: David Gray, 1901. Sources of the images are noted with each.