Thursday, March 13, 2008

Metropole Souvenir Building

Building Collector reader Mike M. wanted to share a story about a rare souvenir building he added to his collection.

He wrote:
“Last year, I was fortunate to have acquired a really cool deco building on eBay. It is a lead piece that stands a little over four inches tall and is inscribed simply “Metropole” on the front and “France” on the back. I had asked many collectors about the piece and none had any idea if it was a real building. Some thought it might have been destroyed during WWII. Others, myself included, thought it might be an advertising piece. Even internet searches did not solve my mystery. Finally, a few weeks ago I had a conversation with a fellow from New York named Ty and the mystery was solved. He has the same piece with a sticker on his saying “Exposition Coloniale Paris 1931.” Now that does make sense, its a futuristic deco tower in France which is no longer standing. The Section Metropolitaine designed by Alfred Audoul was one of the icons of that expo. The tower fronted a tremendously-large exposition hall of 452,000 square feet! The Metropole joins Temple of Angkor Wat and the Cambodian Pavilion as metal memoirs of the 1931 Exposition.”

The Paris Colonial Exposition was a six-month exhibition which displayed diverse cultures and resources of France's colonial possessions including those in North Africa and Vietnam. 33 million visitors came from around the world to view the controversial displays -- a demonstration of French colonial policy, colonial architecture and the philosophical theories that attempted to justify colonialism. The Art Deco Metropole building was called a cathedral of commerce and industry. This souvenir is a wonderful and rare building, but little is know about it. If you have additional information, let us know using the ‘comments’ link below.

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