HCVA: on Ernest Born's Perspective of the main entrance to the Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1938

hcva_model1.jpg – Drawing Matter

Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven (*2007) and Ernest Born (1898–1992), On Ernest Born's Perspective of the main entrance to the Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1938, 2018. Plaster.

Treasure Island is an artificial island in the San Francisco Bay and was built in 1937 for the ‘Golden Gate International Exposition’, a World’s Fair on the occasion of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Architect Ernest Born designed various buildings for the fair including the 'Main Portal', a monumental entrance that provided access to the festival grounds. This gateway consisted of five staggered volumes each at the left and right site of a central passage. Soon after the event the Second World War broke out and the island was used for military purposes. All buildings were demolished and Treasures Island slowly changed into a deserted island.


The new intervention can be seen as a first stone laying of a possible future perspective for the island. The idea is to remind us of the port motif of Born, but this time in a completely desolate context. What once was a monumental gateway to a vibrant Expo, is now scaled down to a solitary gatekeeper's house. The posture of the house consists of a stacking of two parts. The underside quotes the telescopic cast of Born. Above it is a stepped volume in 'international orange', a homage to the CMYK code of the Golden Gate Bridge. Together they form a close silhouette, a loner, apart from the domesticated world around it.


– Happel Cornelisse Verhoeven Architecten

Click here to see more views of HCVA's model, and Born's original drawing. Click here to return to the Alternative Histories curatorial statement, alongside a slide show; and here, for a full list of participants.