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Agriculture - Expo Saint-Louis 1904

Agriculture at the Exhibition Expo Saint-Louis 1904
Architect(s) : Masqueray, Taylor

All the buildings that make up the main group of the Exhibition, symmetrically arranged and of roughly similar trapezoidal or rectangular shape, separated from each other only by the access roads, appear to us as separate parts of the same whole, which could easily be brought together and reassembled to form a single four-sided figure on the plan, and to make a single building, They appear to us as separate parts of the same whole, which could easily be brought together and reassembled so as to form a single four-sided figure on the plan and make a monumental and luxurious warehouse, known as a city, with the Palace of Liberal Arts and the Palace of Transport, the Palace of Mines and the Palace of Machines occupying the corners.

The Palace of Agriculture stands out from the grouping and rises apart in the central part, but to the west of the sites, on a raised ground 60 feet above the level of the other Palaces, looking north towards the group of foreign Pavilions, bordered on the west by the vast grounds reserved for the Philippine Exhibition, on the east by the rose gardens and the continuation of the Pike.

From the top of its hill overlooking most of the Exhibition, in the most marvellous of sites and amidst the ideal beauty of the surrounding grounds, Agriculture is, in short, in its place: the first.

The building alone covers about ten hectares, more than 15 hectares with the Horticulture and the adjoining outbuildings; it is five hundred feet wide by sixteen hundred long, more than a quarter of a mile long; the diagonal of the building is about one third of a mile.

It offers first of all the interesting feature of being the largest of the whole Exhibition where space has not been allowed for and where the dimensions are rather extraordinary.

The plans are due to Messrs. Masqueray and Taylor, and, as with all the other buildings, the architects' concern was to adapt the building exactly to the needs for which it was built.

It looks like a model farm, a Grignon school on the banks of the Mississippi.

From the architectural point of view, great correctness and simplicity are to be noted. She knows that she can count on her gratitude everywhere and always; she is sure that everyone will ask about her and visit her.

She has dressed up all the same for the "Great Fair" and put up a flag for her modest home.

The simplicity of the architecture, the lack of sculptural ornaments are very fortunately compensated for by the mosaics, the terracotta, the colours whose brightness better harmonises with the gardens, the flowers, the flowerbeds and the whole surrounding landscape.

The building is made up of wide bays, separated by protruding pylons, with a sober decoration. There are many rectangular windows with straight mullions and a crossbar at the top.

The main entrances have the appearance of large arched bays through which abundant light penetrates, ending in a semicircular crown; the archivolts fall on pilasters on the ground floor. The vestibules are without sculptural ornamentation.

There is no trace here of the high pavilions at the corners and axes, or of the elaborate pediments. The arches are linearly ornamented and are reminiscent of the Romanesque style.

The protruding pylons that encircle the building continue above the cornice in a light motif in the same style as that which decorates the entrances, and bear flagpoles with pavilions and flags on the right and left.

The roofs are flat and fall almost from the cornice; a ramp runs around the building.

The hall that joins the four main entrances is raised and pierced with dormer windows.

Special care was taken with the metal roof oaks that direct the water to the gutters, as well as the downpipes.

The interior installations have been treated as befits an agricultural country, where nearly half the population is employed on the ground, and with great taste they contribute greatly to the decoration of the Palace.

An immense central aisle, 106 feet wide and rising to 60 feet at the top of the truss, runs through the building from end to end. There are several other bays which are somewhat less spacious.

There are no galleries on the upper floor, no inner courtyards; the aisles run crosswise from north to south, east to west, from one end to the other, so that visitors can see at a glance what they may be interested in.

Inside, the windows are 4 metres above the floor; this arrangement allows the walls to be used for decorative installations, while at the same time allowing for ventilation, as there is nothing to be deposited at window level.

The light comes in abundantly through the monitors, a system which has the advantage of protecting the exhibits from direct sunlight at all times.

A hall with seating for a thousand people, a reading and correspondence room, and even a darkroom for those who want to take photographs, are provided.

Almost all the states and nations of the world are represented.
In the central aisle are exhibited special specimens of the main products of the soil: wheat, cotton, sugar, rice and tobacco...

In the south-west corner there is a model dairy; in the centre there is a large refrigerated display case.

Here is the Food Exhibition: there, in a large space, are the agricultural implements and modern agricultural machines; the latest creations compared with the most primitive devices, according to the retrospective mode so happily adopted for the various branches of agriculture.

Power and lighting are provided largely free of charge.

©Exposition internationale de Saint Louis 1904. Rapport général