Chapter

Building Empire

in Visualizing American Empire

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226075334
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226075303 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226075303.003.0007
Building Empire

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This chapter investigates the representation of the Orient at turn-of-the-century world's fairs, asking initially why Americans became so interested in representing the Orient through architecture at these expositions. It focuses on the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, where imported Filipino workers (directed by the fair's organizers) constructed a form of “native” architecture meant to frighten visitors, convincing them of the need for an American presence in the Philippines. The chapter then moves from American fantasies about Filipino architecture on American soil into the Philippines by examining architect Daniel Hudson Burnham's presence in the Pacific from late 1904 to early 1905, detailing how the colonial administration implemented an architectural program of building imperialism. Once American colonial officials, with the help of Burnham's successor, architect William Parsons, executed parts of these plans, these alterations to the Philippine landscape established that the Orient did not have to be relegated to the realm of fantasy. This distant place had become a tangible location, appropriated for imperialist interests by building government structures and business venues. The creation of US government-sponsored architecture in the Philippines epitomizes how Americans wanted to replicate their vision of American ingenuity in the colonial zone.

Keywords: Orient; world's fairs; Louisiana Purchase Exposition; Filipino architecture; Daniel Hudson Burnham; William Parsons; imperialism; colonialism

Chapter.  8796 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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