Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WTC: Concrete's Poster Child

As Edward D. Stone's International Trade Center and Curtis & Davis' Exhibition Center (Rivergate) neared completion, the Portland Cement Association featured the structures in its Fortune magazine advertisements. Utilizing an illustration by poster artist Bob Peak (1927-92), Portland's copywriters stressed that concrete made good "business sense."

"Concrete gives a world trade center built-in sales appeal. The buildings of New Orleans' new International Trade Center are designed to serve the buyers and sellers of merchandise from every corner of the world. Here, through the imaginative use of concrete, is expressed the very spirit and pace of modern-day trade. In the Convention-Exhibition building, the New Orleans architects used a concrete barrel shell roof to create striking beauty, as well as an interior clear span of 225 feet, sufficient to seat 17,600 people. Textured exterior concrete walls provide tasteful concrete throughout. The highly compressible qualities of New Orleans' soils were mastered by prestressed concrete piles, providing firm foundations for the light but strong reinforced concrete frame and floors designed by advanced new structural criteria. Gleaming exterior curtain wall panels of precast concrete assure visual interest."

Image above: Bob Peak, illustrator for Portland Cement Association. "Concrete Gives a World Trade..." Promotional flyer. [Published in Fortune July 1965].  Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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