Expo '70 was a world's fair held in Suita, Osaka, Japan, between March 15 and September 13, 1970. The theme of the Expo was "Progress and Harmony for Mankind." In Japanese, Expo '70 is often referred to as Osaka Banpaku (大阪万博). This was the first world's fair held in Japan.
The Expo had the highest visitor numbers of any world expo in history with 64 million visitors. Its architectural design presented utopian architectural viewpoints and foreshadowed future tendencies in architecture including tensile constructions, metabolistic structures, neo-historic and symbolic styles. Matshushita Electric donated a time capsule that is to be opened in the year 6970.
The master plan for the Expo was designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange with help by 12 other Japanese architects who designed elements within it. Bridging the site along a north/south axis was the Symbol Zone, planned on three levels it was primarily a social space which had a unifying space frame roof.
The Big Roof echoes Archigram ideas - a techno-utopian instant city devoted to sick gatherings and entertainment; a realization, in the East, of what they were never able to build in the West. Archigram was a group born in 1961 with the publication of a magazine by Peter Cook, David Greene and Mike Webb. “Osaka 1 - Environmental Jukebox” was their exhibit for Expo ‘70 and was basically a corridor, through which thousands of people an hour will pass. The audience participated in responding to five simple questions about ‘Cities” with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ push-button response. The questions hung in the air, and were printed in a special edition of Archigram called “Osakagram”.
Also of note, The Tower of the Sun was originally built for Expo ‘70 and housed in the Festival Plaza building known as the “Big Roof” designed by Kenzo Tange. The tip of the tower projected out of the Big Roof’s ceiling due to the height of the building. The Tower currently has three faces, two in the front and one in the back. A face between two arms represents the present, and a black face on the rear of the tower is the sun of the past. Originally another face “Sun of the Underworld” was located on the basement floor, yet currently it has been moved to an unknown location.