Magic City derives from the Arc of Triumph for San Francisco’s International Exposition, held at Treasure Island, in 1939. This time Magic City, is surrounded by a copper-red atmosphere, confronted by a tall arch in minimalist style. The left façade goes skyward continuous to infinity, meanwhile the entire arch engages the viewer to search within its space – a celebration towards such structure combined with one’s own findings.
Before 1936, the spot of land in San Francisco Bay known as Treasure Island did not exist. It is a man-made island, 400 acres of landfill dredged out of the bay, and the Army Corp of Engineers began work on it in March 1936 – before the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges were completed. It was to be the site of the Golden Gate International Exposition, a phantasmagoria of architectural beauty that would open in 1939. The fair’s purpose was to promote peace and international cooperation; it was also a celebration of San Francisco: the building of two new bridges launched the city’s role as the "gateway to the Pacific.” The breathtaking buildings, dramatically and inventively lit at night in glowing colors – embraced a variety of architectural styles: Art deco, Bauhaus, Romanesque. The theme of the fair was Pacific unity, sharing styles from all four continents with the Pacific coasts. As the war in Europe heated up, various participating countries had to close their exhibits. It became evident that Magic City could not be sustained. The fair closed on September 29th, 1940. The U.S. Navy set up a base on Treasure Island. All of the buildings were destroyed except for the Administration Building, which housed Treasure Island Museum until the mid 1990’s. It is now residential housing.
By Patricia Araujo