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Situating Chinese Architecture within “A Century of Progress”: The Chinese Pavilion, the Bendix Golden Temple, and the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair

Cole Roskam
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
Vol. 73, No. 3 (September 2014), pp. 347-371
DOI: 10.1525/jsah.2014.73.3.347
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jsah.2014.73.3.347
Page Count: 25
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Situating Chinese Architecture within “A Century of Progress”
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Abstract

Situating Chinese Architecture within “A Century of Progress”: The Chinese Pavilion, the Bendix Golden Temple, and the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair explores the overlooked role played by Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair in China’s twentieth-century architectural development. The exposition initially represented a valuable opportunity for China’s recently established Guomindang administration to highlight its new political agenda via a national pavilion that would also symbolize the country’s search for a modern, uniquely Chinese architectural expression. Numerous financial and geopolitical obstacles would eventually prevent official Chinese participation, and two unofficial structures were completed instead on China’s behalf: a privately financed Chinese pavilion and a piece-by-piece reconstruction of an eighteenth-century Qing replica of a Tibetan Buddhist shrine, the Golden Temple, sponsored by the Chicago-based industrialist Vincent Bendix. Cole Roskam investigates the transnational forces that produced these buildings at the fair and argues that the event should be considered an important new point of inquiry in the study of Chinese modern architecture.

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