8. The Perisphere Was Not as Smooth as Desired

Image via Wikimedia Commons from New York Public Library

“Building the World of Tomorrow” was the theme of the 1939 World’s Fair, so the centerpiece of the event had to have a streamlined and futuristic design. The Trylon and Persisphere, two contrasting yet simple geometric shapes, were designed by architects Wallace K. Harrison and Jacques-André Fouilhoux. Harrison would go on to be the leading architect of the United Nations Headquarters.

The original plans for the Perisphere called for it to be covered in a smooth and seamless layer of concrete. However, due to the high cost of that material, gypsum was used instead. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts to smooth it out, the gypsum created an uneven texture and had visible seams. Also, surrounding fountains damaged the fragile coating and their arches of water had to be lowered.