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Designing Pan-America

Designing Pan-America
U.S. Architectural Visions for the Western Hemisphere
Foreword by Robert Rydell

Coinciding with the centennial of the Pan American Union (now the Organization of American States), González explores how nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. architects and their clients built a visionary Pan-America to promote commerce and cultural exchange between United States and Latin America.

Series: Roger Fullington Endowment in Architecture

January 2011
Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers
280 pages | 10 x 10 | 204 color and b&w illus., 1 map |

Late in the nineteenth century, U.S. commercial and political interests began eyeing the countries of Latin America as plantations, farms, and mines to be accessed by new shipping lines and railroads. As their desire to dominate commerce and trade in the Western Hemisphere grew, these U.S. interests promoted the concept of "Pan-Americanism" to link the United States and Latin America and called on U.S. architects to help set the stage for Pan-Americanism's development. Through international expositions, monuments, and institution building, U.S. architects translated the concept of a united Pan-American sensibility into architectural or built form. In the process, they also constructed an artificial ideological identity—a fictional Pan-America peopled with imaginary Pan-American citizens, the hemispheric loyalists who would support these projects and who were the presumed benefactors of this presumed architecture of unification.

Designing Pan-America presents the first examination of the architectural expressions of Pan-Americanism. Concentrating on U.S. architects and their clients, Robert Alexander González demonstrates how they proposed designs reflecting U.S. presumptions and projections about the relationship between the United States and Latin America. This forgotten chapter of American architecture unfolds over the course of a number of international expositions, ranging from the North, Central, and South American Exposition of 1885–1886 in New Orleans to Miami's unrealized Interama fair and San Antonio's HemisFair '68 and encompassing the Pan American Union headquarters building in Washington, D.C. and the creation of the Columbus Memorial Lighthouse in the Dominican Republic.


AAUP Book, Jacket and Journal Show: Honors: Scholarly Illustrated

  • Foreword by Robert W. Rydell
  • Preface: Entre autopista y puente
  • Acknowledgments
  • Pan-American Architecture Chronology
  • Introduction: Entering Pan-America
    • Mapping the Sources of the Pan-American Idea
    • The Pan-American Citizen
    • Equal Representation for All Americans
  • Chapter 1. The Birth of Pan-American Architecture: Hemispheric Fairs, 1884-1901
    • Logical Pan-Americanism at Two New Orleans Expositions
    • Before the White City: Quadricentennial Visions for 1892
    • The Pan-American Exposition in an American Power City, 1895-1901
  • Chapter 2. A Rubber-Fig Tree for the Patio: America's Peace Temple, 1907-1913
    • The Competition
    • After the Competition
    • Transforming the "Latins" with Patio and Pool
    • Nuestra Pan-América
  • Chapter 3. In Search of Modern Pan-America: The Columbus Memorial Lighthouse
    • Kelsey's Perfect Competition
    • Pan-America's Heritage Is Explored in Stage One
    • Kelsey Orchestrates the Second Stage
    • Gleave's Transformative Cross
    • Building the Unwelcomed Columbus Memorial
  • Chapter 4. Gateway to the Americas: Dreaming Interama, HemisFair Living
    • Interama and the Inter-American Subject
    • HemisFair '68 and New Liaisons with Las Américas
    • The Last Hemispheric Fairs
  • Epilogue: Enter Here: The Great Pan-American Way
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Robert Alexander Gonzalez is Director of the El Paso Program and Associate Professor of Architecture on the El Paso campus of the Texas Tech University College of Architecture. A historian and registered architect, Gonzalez is the founding editor of the bilingual journal Aula: Architecture & Urbanism in Las Américas, which is devoted to the architecture, urbanism, and public art of Latin America and U.S. Latinos.