Centennial Building (Transportation Building, Chrysler Building), 1905
James Flanders (State Fair Exposition Building)
The Centennial Building was originally constructed in 1905 as the first steel and masonry exhibition building on the fairgrounds. In 1904, after a series of events that caused staggering financial losses, the State Fair agreed to deed the fairgrounds to the City, in exchange for cash to pay off its debt. Funding for a major new exhibit hall was included in the deal, and James Flanders, fresh from his work at the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, was hired as the architect. Flanders' design consisted of three large bays, each with a gabled roof and projecting entrance portico. Dahl's renovation in 1936 continued this tripartite layout, only on a much grander scale. He built three new porticos as part of a frontal expansion of the building, extending it considerably to almost twice its original length. Similar gymnastics were performed on the opposite side of the Esplanade, where Dahl also incorporated an existing building into the new axial ground plan. The current Automobile Building, Walter Ahlschlager, 1948, replaced the original structure that burned. Matching porticos were added in 1986. Dahl's design for the two buildings incorporated a pair of murals by Carlo Ciampaglia under each portico, monumental sculptures by Pierre Bourdelle and Raoul Josset in front of each portico and cameo reliefs by Bourdelle.
Credits: Excerpts taken from The American Institute of Architects Guide to Dallas Architecture, published in 1999 by the American Institute of Architects, Dallas Chapter. The editor of this book was Larry Paul Fuller. The Fair Park Introduction and entries were written by Willis Winters, AIA.
Permission to publish these excerpts was granted by The American Institute of Architects, Dallas Chapter, in October 2002.
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