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Palais de la Coopération Internationale - Expo Brussels 1958

Palais de la Coopération Internationale at the Exhibition Expo Brussels 1958
© Expo58
Architect(s) : H. Van Kuyck

The Palais de la Coopération Internationale was built by the Commissariat Général du Gouvernement Belge to express the major theme of our time and the need for cooperation between peoples, in all fields. You entered through the planisphere room, which expressed a first idea: the awareness of the world we live in.

An electrical device, dependent on a small electronic brain, animated this planisphere which translated the essential element of our time: the gigantic demographic push implying an expansion in all the fields: the increase of the resources, revolution of the means of transport and the progression of the use of energy in its multiple forms.

In the second room, a cartoon film evoked precisely this evolution of needs and demonstrated the resulting imbalances: 2/3 of the world's population is undernourished.

Opposite the film screen, a fresco evoked the world's resources, with in the foreground some symbolic elements of the new and prodigious science and technology that make it possible to meet this increase in needs.

At the top of the staircase, stretched with fabric strips in the basic colours of the flags, a metal knot symbolised the idea of international cooperation, the only way to harmonise the growing needs and the indispensable resources in the future. A series of large photos showed examples of global cooperation, illustrating the main idea of this Palace.

A sculpture symbolising international cooperation was placed in a garden at the end of this level.

On the upper level of the palace, photographic montages illustrated the benefits that man can expect from the convergent action of science, technology, economic and social organisation, implemented by international cooperation in all fields. Let us mention in particular the fields of hygiene, longevity, health, food, housing, clothing, comfort, transport and communications, education, leisure and sport, information, justice and the defence of human rights.

Your attention was also particularly drawn to the spiritual impulse that remains unchanged in the hearts of all men, of all times and everywhere, and which is also expressed in the "act of meditation or religious inspiration in the surpassing of oneself, etc.

The last theme, the spiritual man, was made clear to you by means of a series of paintings and lighting effects in an appropriate sound environment.

Background music and light effects were used to create an atmosphere conducive to the awareness of the various subjects represented throughout the Palace.

At the exit of the Palace, around an esplanade, the Palaces of the international and supra-national organisations showed the state of the achievements or cooperation projects.

The importance of this Palace for the understanding of the meaning of the Exhibition was not to be denied: it was truly a preface, an introduction to this great event.

© Guide Officiel Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1958 - Desclée & Co