Saturday, August 31, 2019

1958 Brussels

Today we are returning to Belgium - Brussels, to be precise; the site of "Expo 58", the first major Expo since World War II. It was also the 11th (and last) Expo hosted by Belgium.

This pretty photo shows the the distant "Atomium", but looming over all is the gigantic Soviet pavilion. According to Wikipedia, the building was "...folded up and (returned) to Russia when Expo 58 ended" (folded up is an interesting way to put it). The building is still used as an exhibit hall. Among the exhibits was a facsimile of Sputnik, which "...mysteriously disappeared, and they accused the US of stealing it". SHENANIGANS.

To the left is the France pavilion, an unusual building in that the tower that you see angled out supported most of the weight of the structure, so that interior columns weren't needed. One website referred to it as a "membrane structure". What a daring and impressive design! Notice the Sky Ride moving above the boulevard in the lower right.

You can't have a Soviet pavilion without a heroic statue of Vladimir Lenin.

Years ago I acquired this pin from Expo 58; It's got a neat design with Sputnik soaring above the big pavilion, with that nice blue enamel. Pretty cool.

I have more photos from Expo 58 to share... IN THE FUTURE!

I'm away for the long weekend, but look forward to reading your comments when I get home in a couple of days.


K. Martinez said...

Love the "Atomium". It's my favorite World's Fair icon of all-time. Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

Agreed on the "Atomium", K. Martinez. I wish that I had been able to visit a World's Fair.

That Sky Ride appears to be pretty low to the ground compared to others.

Chuck said...

The first photo of the Soviet pavilion was taken from the plaza in front of the US pavilion, which I hope we'll get to see in your upcoming post. That was where the CirCarama version of America the Beautiful debuted. There's always a Disney connection if you look hard enough.

Interesting that "USSR" works out to "URSS" in French, "ursus" means "bear" in Latin, and the Russians are traditionally represented by a bear.

That Sky Ride is slung pretty low; there's no way your parachute would have enough time to open if you fell out.

Anyone else feel like waffles for breakfast?

"Lou and Sue" said...

That ain't no sky ride! What an exciting view you'd get! - the tops of people's heads and you could possibly see into the 2nd floors of buildings. Great photo opportunities.

It truly would be a very interesting fair to see, especially with the world-happenings, at the time.

Chuck, I'll join you but I want chocolate!

Thanks, Major! Enjoy your weekend, Major and everyone!


Nanook said...

Is it any wonder after seeing these images we long for the forward-thinking design and hopefulness of world fairs/expo's-? (I'm guessing spitting from the decidedly low-cruising Sky Ride was discouraged-??)

That pin is a beauty.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

I remember from Russian class that the Russian equivalent of USSR is CCCP, pronounced ess-ess-ess-airr. It's kind of s tongue-twister if you go fast enough.

The mural begin the statue is very pretty.

Chuck said...

Sue, I've had to swear off Belgian chocolate, but feel free to have all you want. You can even have my portion.

When I was stationed in England, I took my wife with me to a two-week postal course at a US base in Germany. We took the Channel Tunnel (nobody over there calls it the "Chunnel") and then spent a day and night in Bruges before continuing on to Germany.

While there, we stopped at a chocolatier's shop and bought a big box of assorted, delicious Belgian chocolates to ration out over the next couple of weeks.

Once in Germany, I'd go to class during the day while she'd go touring, and then after dinner we'd retire to our room, eat a couple of chocolates, and then go to bed. And then our hearts started pounding, and we couldn't sleep, and we couldn't figure out what was wrong, and I was chugging coffee (which I normally didn't do) just to stay awake through class, and then I was miserable all day (she could sleep in), only to restart the cycle that night.

We finally traced it down to something (presumably caffeine) in the chocolate. Once we started having our piece of chocolate with breakfast, things were OK. But we never bought Belgian chocolate again.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck, you and your wife should definitely stick with the waffles, and I'll eat the Belgian chocolates. We'll leave the Brussel sprouts for the Major.


By the way, are you the same Chuck who wrote about Walt's grandchildren's apartment(s), way back in 2010? (I'm currently backtracking and now up to the 2010 posts and comments.) That ongoing apartment thing was hilarious. If it was you, I want to say THANK YOU!

Dean Finder said...

Think of how many beets the Soviet proletariat could have had for the money spent on that mural and statue.

Chuck said...

Sue, I am. As far as I know, I'm the only "Chuck" who has comments attributed to him at GDB.

It's funny you should mention that post, because I was just thinking about that yesterday, trying to remember when I started writing comments at GDB. I stumbled on the site in late 2009, but it took me awhile to get up the courage to start commenting. That may have been my first non-anonymous comment. I'm glad you enjoyed it - I know I had fun writing it.

Melissa said...

Dean Finder, I just assumed that the statue was sculpted out of the beet pulp left over from when they squeezed the beet juice to paint the mural with.

Anonymous said...

Now I am interested in the counter-balance building.

Thanks for this post, Major. New buildings are always fun for me.