O   m  n  i  t  e  c  t  u  r  e


  O   m  n  i  t  e  c  t  u  r  e
THE 1953 Celesteville Fair was accessible by road, air and water. The purpose-built spits on Lake Celesteville were linked to downtown Celesteville by a ceremonial one lane suspension bridge; and high-volume vehicular traffic was accommodated through mainland road access. A spectacular logistical achievement, the fair was always on schedule and on budget. The site groundwork and full construction took slightly over a week to complete, records show. The massive costs were fully underwritten by King Babar.


Architecture of the Fair

Celesteville Bridge/Pont Celesteville
Ten 60-meter piers clad in Celesteville granite support a kilometer-long, single lane suspension span. Moulded and carved reliefs on the railings are of elephant Masonic significance. Handsome red brick offramp.

Kangaroo Ziggurat
5 tier, white stucco old-school Mesopotamian ziggurat with an inventive play of both lancet and arched clerestory window openings (without glass). Painted steel catwalks ring the large centre atrium.

Rhino Pavilion
Monumental. Flared walls of polished concrete each with a grand arch. Deep eaves protect this open air pavilion from the Lake Celeste typhoons. Reminiscent of Le Corbusier's roughhewn tropical buildings. 2 tusks on the roof are the work of sculptor Podular the Elephant, they are crossed to symbolize universal rhino unity at this 'watering hole of the world'.

Bird House
This marvelous feat of engineering seems to change shape and colour when approached from the air. For the 'groundlings' the building presents itself as an arrangement of tall legs bound together on-high by rings... all in zinc. The mast features a high-tech lightning rod that powers the vegetarian food court.

Monkey House
A curiousity: wooden posts chintz canopy, flags, ladders, this complicated folly achieved fame a generation later as the setting for a video game in which gorillas thwarted vandalistic homosapiens by rolling barrels. Unfortunately the exposed gears and dirty banana oil engine of this pavilion clash with the light spirit of its natural materials.

Giraffe Castle
A proto-Gehry tour-de-force. Cones, trapezoids and irregular swooping shapes form a 20 meter high 'castle', skinned with red enamel panels and punched randomly with deep openings.

Camel Tent
Wake up and smell the coffee and camels! We've all heard it said and here's where it happens: the social hub of the fair, the all-important café where the conversation and coffee, always made with fresh hump water, flowed freely. This large regal tent had more return visitors than any other building (some simply never left). It just 'feels right' inside and out. Note the gold embroidery.

Market Dome
Re-enforced concrete superstructure of arches and ribs supporting a mesh of steel rafters and kevlar covering. Fuller and Solari brought fieldtrips of human adolescents to the construction site. There's no denying the magnetism of the shopping mecca inside, even if such characterizations (a shopping Jerusalem for pete's sake?) are frowned upon since King Babar's first son and heir converted to both Islam and Buddhism at a 1974 B.J. Thomas concert.

Lion House
Well-situated on a savannah. Fluted marble pillars support three concrete platforms with strategic views of flat, unprotected gathering spaces around the pavilion. These were strictly "viewing" platforms however as the Fair was an enforced 'no kill' zone (to encourage friendship). The fraternity of Lions thought to include two life-size marble lions on the roof, just in case you forgot where you were. Such gestures are joyous self-parody rather than anything nefarious. Ascend and enjoy the views.

Hippo Water Park
The aquatic campus of the park is housed in three regular-shaped buildings. The Change Room is a well-proportioned limestone block with moderne relief details. The Dive Center is a concrete block. The Water Pavilion sits on four wooden piers, rising to 2 levels of terraces. Painted wood predominates. A 2-storey wall of windows faces west. The hippo scale of the structures is mediated by their pleasant settings and uses.

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