Where Was Expo 70?
Expo 70 took place in Suita, Osaka, Japan. It was the first world fair to be held on the Asian continent and commemorated the 100th anniversary of the coming of modern Western civilization to Japan. The theme of the Expo was “Progress and Harmony for Mankind.” The master plan for the Expo was designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange helped by 12 other Japanese architects who designed elements within it. Bridging the site along a north/south axis was the Symbol Zone. Planned on three levels it was primarily a social space which had a unifying space frame roof.
Osaka was chosen as the site for the 1970 World Exposition by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in 1965. 330 hectares in the Senri Hills outside Osaka had been earmarked for the site and a Theme Committee under the chairmanship of Seiji Kaya was formed. Kenzo Tange and Uzo Nishiyama were appointed to produce the master plan for the Expo. Tange invited 12 other architects to elucidate designs for elements within the master plan. These architects included: Arata Isozaki for the Festival Plaza mechanical, electrical and electronic installations; and Kiyonori Kikutake for the Landmark Tower.
Expo 70 attracted more visitors than any previous world fair. From March 15 to September 13 in 1970 it was visited by more than 64 million people. Seventy-six nations plus the United Nations Organization took part. The United States built an extraordinary building, elliptical in shape, made out of plastic and supported by air. The Russians then the (Soviet Union) built a pavilion to rise like a sharp-edged arrow on top of which shone a huge red star which could be seen for miles around.
The fair also had the 1,100-foot Expo Tower from which the visitors could enjoy a spectacular view of the Kita Settsu Mountains to the north-west, and to the south-west a rather less beautiful sight—industrial Osaka. Six of the buildings have been preserved since the closure of the fair, including the splendid Japanese garden which covers over 60 acres. Osaka is bidding for Expo 2025 alongside Yekaterinburg, Russia and Baku, Azerbaijan, and will choose the host city in November 2018.
The site of Expo ’70 is now Expo Commemoration Park. Almost all pavilions have been demolished, but a few memorials remain, including part of the roof for Festival Plaza designed by Tange. The most famous of the still-intact pieces is Okamoto’s Tower of the Sun. The former international art museum pavilion designed by Kiyoshi Kawasaki was used as the building for the National Museum of Art, Osaka until March 2004 (the museum moved to downtown Osaka in November 2004).
Additionally, there is a time capsule that is to be left for 5,000 years and opened in the year 6970. The capsule was donated by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. The concept creating time capsules at world’s fairs started with the two Westinghouse Time Capsules, which are to be opened in 6939. THE capsules are 300‐pound torpedo‐shaped metal objects, 7½ feet long and 8⅜ inches in diameter. Their walls are a half‐inch thick.