World’s Fair Park

World’s Fair Park

Bacchus, Neptune, Helios

The river that runs through the park does not fill the empty void left after the close of the 1982 World’s Fair. Yet the Fair’s skeleton remains and the flesh of present day citizens pours lifeblood back into the heart of this performative space.

The Sun Also Rises

Constructed in order to be the gathering place for the 1982 World’s Fair, the Park sits on 70 acres. The site was chosen for its locality, nestled between the University of Tennessee and downtown Knoxville. At the end of its three month duration the Fair attracted some 11 million people. Used as an area of both recreation and performance World’s Fair Park, which could have easily fallen into decay with disuse and neglect, has risen not only physically but also figuratively from the ashes. Located conveniently in the heart of Knoxville’s Academic and financial center, the park is an excellent asset to the burgeoning crescendo that is re-centralizing the downtown area.

WFP is filled with space. Its appeal lies more in its open space, which serves as a contrast to downtown Knoxville, than in any particular structure on its premises. However, that is not to say that structures such as the iron-clad Sunsphere and or the tented Tennessee Amphitheatre are not appealing.

The original purpose World’s Fair Park was that it would be an area that is capable of hosting a variety of performances. One immediately thinks of the the amphitheatre, because it is a traditional performing space. However there exist many other performative spaces. A space which one might not think capable of being a stage is the Sunshpere.

The Last Cataract

Aside from being a notable member of the Knoxville skyline, the Sunsphere exists as the harbinger for the park, announcing its location from a great distance. Left largely unused after 1982 has in the last decade been colonized by private business. The upper floors contain  a restaurant and a large banquet room. In addition the observation deck has been once again been opened within the last decade. Both the Banquet room and the bar/resturant hold a variety of gatherings and events making this elevated stage an interesting one to frequent.

Eye of Helios

In recent years, it appears that not only the mayor but the populace of Knoxville has begun to take a great interest in the park in general. For example, performances such as Volapolooza bring a great deal of attention. And as a result a cycle is formed where such attention affords even more opportunities to host even large events!

Closing the Keys

WFP is located centrally between the University of Tennessee campus and downtown Knoxville. This location creates a blending between civic construction and academia, especially when one is standing near the statue of Rachmaninoff. Near this statue a space of nature surround by buildings coupled with the Rachmaninoff himself makes the view feel the blending effect.

The River and The Tent

The Park is sliced in half by the clinch avenue bridge. Although it may seem to separate the park into two halves, the tall and wide arches of the bridge do not resemble walls or any sort of divider. In fact they look more like tunnels to me than anything else. And these tunnels effectively connect both “halves” of the park. Yet at the same time the bridge is an edge between to distinct districts of the park. The side with the fountain and field seems to cater more to general recreation than does the half containing both the sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphiteature. This half, which also contains the “river”(as pictured above) emits a much more sophisticated and refined aura than does the other. Which is exactly what one would expect considering that the “traditional”spaces of performances are located there.

Rem Koolhaas has said, “There is no plateau of resting or stabilising. Once you are interested in how things evolve, you have a kind of never-ending perspective, because it means you are interested in articulating the evolution, and therefore the potential change, the potential redefinition.” There is no plateau of resting or stabilising. Once you are interested in how things evolve, you have a kind of never-ending perspective, because it means you are interested in articulating the evolution, and therefore the potential change, the potential redefinition.” To me this captures how World’s Fair Park is treated and how the park has afforded its respect and prestige within the Knoxville community.

-authored by Joseph Daws

Also visit http://www.worldsfairpark.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: