Restoring the Roadmap of Tomorrow

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Today the Tent of Tomorrow is used for storage, and the heroic Texaco Roadmap of New York State that makes up its main floor has been beaten down by weather and vandals. But help, in the form of the School of Design’s graduate program in historic preservation, is on the way.

Designed by architect Philip Johnson for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, the Tent of Tomorrow—a 12-story open-air elliptical pavilion capped by a massive suspended-cable-system roof fitted with colored acrylic panels—was an award-winning part of the New York State Pavilion. After the fair, plans called for the Pavilion to be preserved and reused, but most of it has been neglected.

In July, the School of Design and New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for the documentation and “pilot conservation” of the 130-foot-by-166-foot terrazzo Road Map. Penn’s contribution includes the historic-preservation department’s architectural-conservation laboratory, with its digital laboratory for exhibition and website preparation, and its materials-conservation laboratory for treatment research. Frank Matero, the professor of architecture who serves as chairman of the historic-preservation department, will supervise the graduate students, who will work as assistants and as summer interns. S.H.

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