Floating World’s Fair

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  • Modification showing Iberian Basin on south side. Floating Worlds Fain – the “Iberian Basin” on the south river
  • Modification plan showing Goose Island Basin. Floating Worlds Fair proposed Goose Island Basin
  • Modification Plan for Floating World's Fair. overall plan proposing three event sites

In 1984, Goldberg developed alternate plans for the proposed 1992 Chicago World's Fair. Rather than the SOM proposal that continued to build on the lakefront with landfill, these alternatives were focused on inland re-development along the Chicago River. The BGA concept for the Fair extended from Chinatown on the south to Goose Island on the north and the lakefront on the east. Save for the entry gates, all the exhibitions would be located in basins in or along the Chicago River with temporary extensions into Lake Michigan. Ever a champion of the continued economic development of the inner city, Goldberg, in collaboration with his colleague Harry Weese, focused on the river in an attempt to direct development where it was needed.

Originally intended to be a joint exposition between the United States and Spain to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' voyage to the Americas, it would have been the first world's fair conducted simultaneously in two countries. Chicago pulled out of the bid to host the fair because of protests about the planned exposition site (per the SOM proposal) in Lake Michigan and administrative difficulties between the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.

While not realized, these plans suggest an outline of a progressive a planning agenda - and how to use temporary facilities to spur long-term economic development. The drawings were done by Al Goers in BGA, one of the senior designers, and are notable for ability to outline general intent in a freehand way of drawing. Also of interest are the varied parts of the solution - water taxis along the river, dolphin pools by the lake, and other ways to attract public interest as well as address the need for economy in a temporary facility.