1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition
Flush with expectations for the profits to be made from the recently begun Panama Canal, the San Francisco Merchant’s Association began making preparations in 1904 to hold a world’s exposition in 1915. Similar to Chicago’s “White City” of 1893, the Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) was a demonstration of the unified urban form heralded by City Beautiful Planners. Bernard Maybeck's neo-classical Palace of Fine Arts was inspired by Roman and Greek architecture.
Despite wild acclaim, the PPIE stands as one of the markers of the decline the City Beautiful Movement. Having failed to provide either housing or other human necessities, the City Beautiful Movement would fade as the car allowed unlimited sprawling development.
Referring to the 1893 Chicago Fair, Spiro Kostof said that, “The fair also proved to the capitalists, in turn, that designers really do have a special expertise and that their style could confer historical legitimacy on these crass businessmen.” 1
1 Kostof, Sprio. Lecture at the College of Environmental Design, April 9, 1991. Provided by the University of California Berkeley’s Environmental Design Archives and Media Resources Center, http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/kostof.html : 38:10.