Origins of the Ford Building

Origins of the Ford Building

While the rest of the 1935–1936 Exhibition buildings were built to look towards the past, the Ford Building was meant to entertain visitors' fantasies with its futuristic exterior structure, and its interior automobile and machinery ingenuity. The original Ford Building was planned to be a Ford Tower. However the tower's enormous proportions made it impossible for Richard Requa and designer Walter Dorwin Teague to construct in such a short period of time, and it was also in the flight path of Lindbergh Field. After the designs were complete, the Ford Motor Company decided to shrink the building into what it is today.

Projected plan for the Ford Building (Property of the Library & Archives, SDASM).
Projected plan for the Ford Building (Property of the Library & Archives, SDASM).
Ford Building's front entrance (Property of the Library & Archives, SDASM).
Ford Building's front entrance (Property of the Library & Archives, SDASM).

The Ford Building has a Streamline Moderne design, built to exemplify the theme of progress. The interior of the Ford Building, known as the Pavilion of Flight, hosted the famous Ford V8 engine logo, and today the V8 logo has been converted into a fountain. For the exposition, the Ford Building contained assembly line exhibits and Ford automobile models. In front of the entrance of the Ford Building were a spectacular garden and the Firestone Singing Fountain. A parking lot was built over the garden and fountain at the Exposition's end in 1936.

Aerial Photograph of the Ford Building and the Pavilion (Property of the Library & Archives, SDASM).
Aerial Photograph of the Ford Building and the Pavilion (Property of the Library & Archives, SDASM).

This structure eventually became the home of the institution known as the San Diego Air & Space Museum, whose history is joined with that of the Park.

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Subscribe to our E-Newsletter

Get Social with SDASM