California Pacific Exposition San Diego 1935-1936

Requa enclosed the courtyard
Palace of Education
Fountain by rederick Schweigart

If Requa appreciated the style then flourishing in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, he did not show it in his transformation of the 1915 New Mexico building. Acting on a request from the California Department of Education, he spanned the patio with a roof, thus destroying an indispensable Southwestern trait and dramatic views of second level north and south wings. This from a man who had photographed the romantic patios of Andalusia and Morocco! He also added a 13,000 sq. ft. exhibit room behind the now- enclosed court, where representatives of universities and colleges and trade and business institutions displayed their works.

An exhibit submitted by the California Institute of Technology was the main attraction. It included the most powerful X-ray tube in the world, studies of heredity, examinations of the causes of earthquakes, a working model of the Boulder Dam electrical transmission system, and a model of the Palomar Observatory. A basement beneath this voluminous room contained a nursery which visitors could observe by looking through one-way glass windows. Education being a serious matter, the sooner it started, the better!

Described as the “theme” room, the interior court functioned as an assembly and transit room for people moving to other attractions. Eight booths lined the walls, replacing the arcade. Displays in the booths illustrated Citizenship, Worthy Home Making, Fundamental Processes, Health and Safety, International Goodwill, Wise Use of Leisure, Vocational Effectiveness, and Ethical Character.

A bronze nude, with ebony patina, on top the awkwardly- placed fountain in front of the mural is caught in a pirouette. She expresses joie de vivre in contrast with somber matrons, cast in cement, beneath who represent Home, School, and Community, and a virgin, with hands clasped in prayer, who represents Church. The figures support the blithe spirit who cavorts on top a globe. Colored lights, rising from a pool at the base of the fountain, cast their rays on four jets of water cascading down from the outstretched hand of the dancing woman.