The Palace Of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon Street
San Francisco, California
The Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District of San Francisco, California is a monumental structure originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in order to exhibit works of art.
Completely rebuilt from 1964 to 1974, it is one of only a few surviving structures from the Exposition.
The most prominent building of the complex, a 162 feet (49 m) high open rotunda, is enclosed by a lagoon on one side, and is neighboring a large, curved exhibition center on the other side, which is separated from the lagoon by colonnades. As of 2019, the exhibition center (one of San Francisco's largest single-story buildings) was being used as a venue for events such as weddings or trade fairs.
While most of the exposition was demolished when the exposition ended, the Palace was so beloved that a Palace Preservation League, founded by Phoebe Apperson Hearst, was founded while the fair was still in progress.
While the Palace had been saved from demolition, its structure was not stable. Originally intended to only stand for the duration of the Exhibition, the colonnade and rotunda were not built of durable materials, and thus framed in wood and then covered with staff, a mixture of plaster and burlap-type fiber. As a result of the construction and vandalism, by the 1950s the simulated ruin was in fact a crumbling ruin.
In 1964, the original Palace was completely demolished, with only the steel structure of the exhibit hall left standing. The buildings were then reconstructed until 1974 in permanent, light-weight, poured-in-place concrete, and steel I-beams were hoisted into place for the dome of the rotunda. All the decorations and sculpture were constructed anew. The only changes were the absence of the murals in the dome, two end pylons of the colonnade, and the original ornamentation of the exhibit hall.
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