World Exposition in Brussels 1958

 

The Yugoslav Pavilion

 

Sometime in autumn of 1956 I received a call from Mr. Vjenceslav Richter, an architect in Zagreb. He invited me to a meeting with his cooperator Mr. Pavel Weber, an interior designer with whom they won the first price and execution of the Yugoslav Pavilion for Brussels World Exposition in 1958. They were looking for a structural engineer who would be willing to provide the structural concept for the prized pavilion.

 

During the first meeting I was shown their model of the pavilion that took me by surprise for sure. I had to ask who suggested me to work out the structural design for an extraordinary pavilion. They obviously have been asking around the more experienced colleagues but nobody wanted to risk his reputation or just to waste time for a not executable structure at first glance at least. Looking at the rather intriguing model I felt some weird desire to take this task although I envisaged instantly that the solution would ask for a non-classic static design procedure.

 

              

 

The model photos from the competition prospectus DIKSI 2 by Vjenceslav Richer and Pavel Weber for the Yugoslav Pavilion on Brussels World Fair 1958. Left the model total view and a closer corner view at right.

 

The proposed structure would have to consider rather complicated forms of deformation and deflection including considerable pre-stressing forces in four main cables. On a rectangular space truss hang the pavilion cubicle with floor dimensions 32m x 40m. The pavilion box like that should not represent any particular structural problem despite its unconventional form. The deformation of hanger rods should be kept as small as possible not to influence the box structure hanging on the space truss above. The real problem presented the fixation of the rectangular space truss at its four corners onto the four main cables. The deflection of these cables should have the most significant setback in the whole design. Apparently the four cables should have to be designed for a rather large strain – probably subjected to a pre-stressed force.

 

First task was to make reasonable and stiff enough structure for the pavilion cubicle in considering a symmetrical position of hanger rods in two concentric parallelograms. The position of rods dictated the form of space parallelogram truss on that the pavilion box hangs. Thus one could calculate the pavilion and space truss dead load leading to the most decisive point of the overall design. I had consulted a few elder colleagues at the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Zagreb where I worked as the assistant on the Cathedra for Strength of Materials and Testing of Building Materials.

 

The four main cables would be strained by the space truss at four points about half way of the cable’s total length of say 65m each. Part of the structure’s vertical deformation would depend upon the vertical loads dead and live ones. The live loads could be applied non-symmetrically to the structure’s two main axes of symmetry that resulted in considerable horizontal (lateral) movements. The wind load would add its part to the additional lateral movements thus increasing the overall instability of system attached to cables only. This was for me the first time that was confronted to the second level of elastic deformation in an elastic system. This kind of deformation is the result of position change of structure’s center of gravity bringing the system out of its stability under a particular load arrangement.

 

     

 

                              Photograph of model corner close up                   Photograph of model front elevation

 

Three staircases perpendicular to each other (3-point fixation) would prevent the pavilion to rotate around its vertical axis. The rotational stability was one of the crucial points to be considered in particular because of the 4-point fixation on cables holding on the central column. The live load of visitors moving indiscriminately on the pavilion two floors could result in certain vertical as well as horizontal displacements. I believed that the installation of adequate hydraulic absorbers at the bottom of each staircase could smooth out any of such displacements also those caused by a quick live load dislocation or some sudden one say in case of panic.

 

The central column was double conically pointed having a maximum diameter of say 1m and a total height of some 85m. The 4 cables fixed to a ring at 45m above the ground kept the central column firmly in its position. The whole structure should be made of steel and manufactured in Yugoslavia, then transported to Brussels to be erected on the spot. Thus the four cable anchor blocks had to be rather heavy and would represent a larger concrete work on the site only.

 

By end of February 1957 I have completed the preliminary structural design that included a rough calculation of quantities for the building materials for the pavilion. My companions have agreed to a new arrangement of the pavilion interior to comply with the redesigned structure compared to the prized model. Soon the three of us were invited to visit the Commissariat in Belgrade responsible for the Yugoslav Pavilion on EXPO 1958 Brussels. Richter, the architect, new well the place and led us to a large office in the new building of Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Entering we were greeted by the comrade Commissary as follows: “Here come the three Croats!” At first I got weak knees but quickly realized that this was just a joke. All our names were of German origin: Richter - Weber – Springer. After that greeting “the ice was broken” and we got to the business.

 

Around a long table sat about a dozen persons and the session started with Commissary’s introduction asking about progress of the pavilion design. The architect Richter informed that we achieved an agreement about the pavilion form and other arrangements of arts. He asked me to refer about the proposed structural design as this is the main objective of this meeting. At first I went on with my explanations quite well but when it came to the 4 cables the unrest rose in the audience with some loud objections from a few elder persons. One of them was the professor for steel structures design on the University in Belgrade and two others were engineers from steel construction companies.

 

By my estimate one needed a cable of say 90 - 100mm diameter probably not available on the market. However similar sized cables had been rescued from the cable bridge over Danube destroyed during the war. The specialists could not guarantee about the quality of this trophy cables that was the final blow to my proposals. Wind loads presented some headache to the commission too although an Army Air Force colonel kindly offered to test the model in the wind tunnel. Finally the three leading steel specialists had turned down the proposed structure of the model. They suggested supporting the pavilion in a more routine way such as on an adequate number of steel columns.

 

The new design request did not present any major problem for me as the columns had to be placed more or less at the same position like the one of original hanging rods. It was agreed to rearrange the décor panels to enable hiding the vertical truss stiffener between two adjacent panels. These stiffeners provided the horizontal stability to the pavilion when subjected to horizontal loads. The engineers of the appointed steel construction company from Slavonski Brod asked for a minimum height of 900mm for the main beams of steel profiles that was more on economic than on safe side. The architect rejected this request allowing max. 600mm that I had calculated as needed for a box type cross sections. One of contractor’s engineers was my colleague who cleverly understood that the pavilion’s design is not necessarily to be an economic one. The EXPO was a rare occasion to show the engineers’ capability to follow esthetic aspects where the costs did not matter. The contractor left Zagreb after the design aspects had been agreed upon in principle. Few weeks later I received contractor’s the columns’ dimension and the loads for foundations to be made of concrete that was part of my deal with.

 

Richter almost fainted when he noticed the columns’ dimension made of steel profiles. They looked really massive and ugly as made of large “I” steel joists only. I intervened again and proposed a column’s cross section that would be looking much thinner in the open space. The column had to be made in a cross like form out of 4 angle 100mm steel angle profiles welded together corner to corner. The narrow front of some 22mm width would be painted bright off-white where as the inner angles’ areas would be painted with black color. From far one would get an impression that the pavilion stands on petite “needles” where as the wider frontages would merge into the surrounding darkness. Richter was very pleased with my understanding of the esthetics. The contractor had to “grind his teeth” again but was happy with more steel weight and works to be paid for that was not his matter at all.

 

A few months passed and I got an order for a travel to Brussels as to supervise concrete works needed for pavilion’s foundations. My visa travel was limited to 2 weeks only that was something of a surprise for me though. Late in April I arrived in Brussels and the contractor’s chief engineer from Belgrade met me at the railway station. He took me to his landlady where he could arrange an accommodation for me too. Mrs. Rosenberg was an elderly lady and her house was not too far from the EXPO grounds. She had a St. Bernard dog and we made a “friendship” instantly. Madame spoke to me in French only that I could understand but I talk to her in German – so we comprehend each other splendidly. She complained that she cannot converse in Serb language with the chief engineer who stayed here too.

 

      

 

The eastern part copied out from the Expo Map is the Yugoslav pavilion (above the Portugal’s one)

in the FOREIGN SECTION with three gates. At right is “ATOMIUM” the landmark of EXPO 1958. 

 

The next day I walked over the EXPO grounds where many pavilions were in various stages of construction. I saw that the lowest sphere of the “Atomium” is erected already and passed by the huge plot of the USA’s pavilion where excavation was still going on. Not far away was the Yugoslavia’s plot located in a corner of a wooded hill behind. In front of it was Switzerland’s plot and next to the German’s one. Most of the foundation pits had been excavated and few shutters waited for the mass concrete to be poured in already. We cast several test cubes with varying concrete mixes (it was one of my specialties!) and in three days we would get the crushing test results. It was easy to achieve a rather good concrete quality with Belgium’s good cement and washed Rhine gravel so I choose the minimum of cement quantity. Three days later we got concrete cube’s crushing tests so I determined the right concrete mix recipe. The first batch of concrete was ordered for the next day to cast the one ready foundation.

 

On the next two Belgian engineers appeared introducing themselves as the quality inspectors on the EXPO. They expressed their concern regarding the quantity of cement used in the concrete for foundations that well bellow the permissible in Belgian standards. I tried to explain my reasons based upon strength test results. We agreed that contractor could pour the concrete to finish that foundation now. However I had to visit the Head office in town for further consultation before continuing the concrete work. The next day I went to the town and found the Bureau of Survey and Quality Control (BSQC) that turned out to be a private company. I met there several more elderly colleagues and after an amicable conversation my argumentation was accepted to be a right one. The qualities of supplied gravel and cement were excellent enabling a considerable cost saving that was essential considering that all works on EXPO are of temporary character only.

 

The established good contact with the BSQC would turn out as important in about a year. For the rest of my stay I had an easy stand controlling the concrete pouring and the completion of a dozen of foundations. On evenings I took the tramway to Brussels town’s centre to dine a various pubs or some times enjoyed a large roll filled with “hachée” (raw minced meat) with a beer on a street stand. The walks through city’s street was a nice experience that I extended to the town’s outskirts that looked more alike strolling through a “large village”. In most streets stood separated houses as one- or two-storied with front windows that were mostly curtain-less, and surrounded by fenced-in smaller gardens.

 

On one such occasion I visited the Ethnographic Museum that was located far out to the city southeast and next to a large park with many picnic and playing grounds. I would never forget the exhibition of tanned skins pockmarked with varying incised native forms or with ornaments of scars. I could not believe that somebody could present such a quantity of human’s chests and backside skins in a museum. It was a rather tiresome day for me so I got in a taxi instead to walk the long way back to the city centre. At last I boarded there a familiar tramcar going northwards to get to Mrs. Rosenberg’s house after a long day. 

 

Throughout the sojourn I had to economize with my daily traveling allowance that was US$10 per day including the rail ticket to and for Brussels. I tried hard to save some money for a few presents to my family back at home in Zagreb. Pavel Weber came to Brussels for a brief visit on April 29, 1957 and surprised us when he appeared at the site. He brought few drawings showing the display of pavilion’s external design. After the site work was over we returned to our lodging where Pavel pulled out two “Gavrilović” salami sausages and two bottles of šljivovica (our national Plum brandy). Three of us were sitting snugly in my room and in chatting “finished” both bottles and sausages without a peace of bread or anything else. In a rather happy mood we went to the nearby pub (where regular visitors knew us already) and ordered some food. Pavel being in a gratuity mood ordered red wine for all in the pub and we spent a fairly cheerful hour there.

 

After we parted from the pub I had badly needed a walk before going to bed. I noticed Mrs. Rosenberg walking her dog at the far end of street and walked over to join them. The next morning I could not remember what we were talking about last night. Madame greeted me in as usual in French saying: “Last night you spoke in French so well to me. In future you should not talk to me in German anymore, mon chere ami!” I was so perplexed I continued on in French instantly doing so all through my stay here. When I came to the site Mr. Obradović who was the Contractor’s chief engineer informed us about the good news for the May 1. The Yugoslav embassy has booked a bus for all workers for a one day trip to the coast on that national holiday in Belgium.           

 

   

 

Contractor’s workers on a day trip to Knokke (at left) and during lunch break near Brugge right.

Embassy’s representative at centre (dark glasses) and Mr. Obradovic second at right in back row.

 

The day was perfect for a trip starting from Brussels to travel straight westwards to the North See coast. It was a rather strange approach to the sea for me passing through flat countryside smelling the salty breeze from far already. We came to the coast at Knokke sea resort where we could stretch legs walking on a long stretching sandy beach. The sea breeze was rather cool so there were hardly any waves but tiers of basket-seats got our somehow humorous attention. After this first stop we continued to Brugge for a lunch break after that we passed through the busy town and port Oostende coming to the last stop at Gent. It was quite an experience walking through the old town centre and viewing the old university buildings there. I still vividly remember this day trip along Flanders flat regions.

 

       

 

At left the Lion monument on a hill near Waterloo and right part of the Rotunda pavilion next to Hotel du Lion.  

 

I visited the town of Waterloo some 12km and southeast of Brussels on the next Sunday that was the last one before I had to return home. The battlefields are 2km from the town but there was not much to be made out in the surroundings where the Battle of Waterloo was fought on 18 June 1815. That was Napoleon Bonaparte’s last battle and his defeat put a final end to his rule as Emperor of the French. One could view an old movie about the whole story presented in an old-fashioned round pavilion there. Several days later I got on the train from Brussels to Salzburg where I had to change to another one to get me back to Zagreb. In Salzburg I had three hours time between the two trains so I walked to the Old Town where I visited the Cathedral that domed roof had still a large hole in it. I saw also a few damages caused by bombers shortly before WWII ended but my general impression of the town was positive. On that day I certainly could not anticipate that in less than 10 years I would have a good job here.

 

Several months passed and I did not hear from Richter anything not even to mention that I did not get a reimbursement for my contribution in his project. Suddenly early in January 1958 Richter called me to visit him most urgently. When I arrived to his office he produced a strange looking object or form waving it in front of my nose and said: “You will have to design this “object” to be the column in front of Yugoslav pavilion!” Further he said this form reminds him of Calder’s Movables and that it would be a sensation on the EXPO. At first moment I was flabbergasted seeing three umbrella’s spoke bent making a bow each strung and fixed on a tendon of thin wire. Each bow was positioned at an angle of 120 degrees to each other and the ends were fixed to the sinew at the third of its length. By Jove, it proved to be a stiff “structure” and a very elastic one to stand straight upright too.

 

I just could not believe that this “form” could be constructed into a column like structure of 6 bows (one each for Yugoslavia’s republics) that should have a length of 7,5m each. Back to home I started with a rough calculation and discovered soon that the force in the one sinew would have to be considerable for one single steel pipe bent to a bow. This sinew force would increase significantly for the second pipe that dimension would get much bigger too. In a plane the bow’s center of gravity eccentricity to each other would introduce a lateral force at point of fixing and not to mention any other lateral load like the one of wind. No way to construct such a column I thought so I got to consult my elder colleagues at the faculty. At first we redesigned the bow using 3 pipes of smaller profiles that would be formed as a lattice of desired form. The pipes were held together by welded snake like cross-bars of small steel profile.

 

With joined efforts we were able to compute the first three bows only. The deformability of this system asked for the accounting of elastic first and second displacements that had to be evaluated step by step. At those times we used slide rules and mechanical calculators – lucky if you had one driven by electricity. I called on Richter to inform him about rather disappointing outcome of our tryouts. It did not make him happy at all as the Committee’s request was too adamant that the pavilion must get a striking column to be seen from afar. Richter was much upset and forced me to find the solution to create that “column” at what ever price of. Then like a strike of lightning I got the idea – to tiny bars holding the sinew at fixation point to the inner two bow’s pipes. Later I added a turnbuckle to each enabling correction on the sinew’s alignment to a vertical. These bars should be painted black that would make them almost invisible once the “column” is erected in front of the pavilion.

 

Richter liked this idea and urged me to start with the necessary computations and drafting of the working drawings. In the meantime he found a steel workshop in Zagreb as there was little time left for manufacturing of such an intricate steel structure. The prefabricated elements had to be in Brussels for the final assembly until end of March. Richter agreed to my request that the steel contractor arranges an interim the column assembling in Zagreb prior of its shipment to insure there would not be any hitches in Brussels later. The EXPO in Brussels was held from 17 April to 31 October 1958to be the first major World’s Fair after World War II. Some 15,000 workers needed about 3 years to build all the EXPO’s buildings on the 2km˛ broad Heysel plateau some 7km northwest of Brussels. To me it was obvious that the Yugoslav pavilion must get an attractive symbol for as it was surrounded at two sides by the park’s woods.

 

 

The bow and the sinew fixed to by two bars had to be subjected to two test load cases A & B

 

My mentors complimented my idea of the two bars fixing the sinew at each bow’s third point allowing keeping it straight. This solution made the statical calculation much simpler so it could be completed for all 6 bows within two weeks. The calculation resulted in a great reduction of steel profiles thus of the total weight and of the exposed surface to wind load too. The necessary sinew steel profile became small so we had to choose diameters of 20, 25 and 30mm of the solid steel rods. Later the sinew was to be painted in dark grey making its round profile hardly visible against the background. A colleague suggested help to produce the working drawings as he was working for the plant producing the seamless pipes in Sisak.

 

The following weeks were extremely hectic for me and I spent most of the time at the steel manufacturing workshop. I had to supervise the shaping and welding of the many various steel profiles to be formed to a bow. The first made bow subjected to load tests at the Institute for Testing of Materials and Structures of the Civil Engineering Faculty where I was employed as assistant. I arranged to test the bow subjected to lateral loads at the two significant planes. The test’s results were rather promising and proved that the design was correct and safe for its use. We barely succeeded with the trial assembling in Zagreb of the column part of 32,5m in just two days prior to shipment. The local main newspaper had reported about the column assembling on a full page and mentioned my colleague as the designer of this intricate structure. I did not have time to ask for a rectification in that newspaper as I had to travel to Brussels to supervise the column final assembling and erection at the pavilion site.

 

In meantime the shallow pool and a Y-shaped slender bridge over it were completed according my design. The column and the pear-shaped support stood on a tripod of 3m height and placed over the “Y” corner of bridge with the sinew exactly over it. The column consisted of 6 bows 7,5m that lowest of sinew was fixed through the top of a pear-shaped latticed support of 8,5m height. The later one stood on a tripod and was kept in position by 3 pairs of tendons of round steel rods of 22mm diameter. The tendon upper end was fitted to the connection to the lowest bow. The lower ends of tendons were fastened to 3 anchor blocks of that the foundations were hidden under the pool. The total height was 45,5m as measured from the bridge top up to the peak of column. The column itself stirred up quite a curiosity and some anxiety and the rather slender bridge too. The overall design was my great “secret” that I wanted to reveal to the Belgian supervisors only.

 

                          

 

At left the lifting hook holds the temporary assembled column and a worker checks column’s bearing joint on the “pear” support being the lowest structure’s element

 

Despite my limited traveling allowance we managed we take the trip together so my wife would attend the opening ceremony with me. However we had left our daughter at Liljana’s family in Zagreb as we intended to visit our brother-in-law who was on a scholarship in Paris. Mrs. Rosenberg happily provided the accommodation for both of us and conversed with Liljana in English – but with me in French only. The erection crew arrived at the same time. All the column parts arrived and had been sorted out after some argument with the workers completing the remaining works around and in the pavilion. Unfortunately weather turned bad so the welders had to put a tent to finish their work in protected surrounding.

 

     

 

At left the column being assembled on floor its top bow is the nearest one and start up of lifting at right.

 

When the tripod was erected a mobile crane lifted up the “pear” support on top of it. With the three pairs of tendons that had double-screw connections at each of end one was able to fix the “pear” firmly in the vertical position. One achieved a not-rotating stable “pear” by staining the tendons double-screw connection to the anchor block. Everything was ready for the column to be put on its pear-like support. In the meantime one assembled the six bows on the ground by fixing the sinews with pairs of cross-bars that had a turnbuckle on each bar. Thus we achieved an almost straight sinew line in adjusting the turnbuckles prior the column to be lifted up.

 

Soon after lunch break another mobile crane with a long boom arrived to lift the assembled column onto the “pear” support. First the short cut lowest third of sinew rod Ř30mm was carefully put through the opening on “pear” top. The column lower bow end was turned so that it passed through the “window” that was an opening left in one of the “pear” latticed side. The crane slowly lowered the column until the bow end plate sat firmly on the “pear” internal tripod support. A short Ř30mm rod was pulled in through the hole on support and its top end fixed with a turnbuckle to the short cut sinew end. Then the short rod bottom end was strained firmly using a double-screw joint too.

 

These procedures were completed within say two hours when I instructed the crane driver to release from the hook a lifting snare that fell to the ground. For the first time a complete column stood there swaying slightly. The trial erection in Zagreb was worth of it enabling the bows assembly without any hitch. The erection crew of five assembled the column support in due time. The lifting procedure and the final column assembly were completed two days prior to the opening ceremony of the Brussels World’s Fair 1958. The design and the construction attested the high structural comprehension and the excellence of works quality. The onlookers cheered seeing this strange looking structure swaying lightly in the Atlantic breeze.  

 

                

 

At left lifting and placing of the “pear” element and at left two stages of column lifting and moving in.

 

There was a lot of admiration for the erection crew coming from all present in final stages of completing the Yugoslav pavilion. The prompt column assembling within a few days was for me the greatest achievement and something extraordinary in view of the short time we had on disposal. The two supervisors of BSQC arrived when the column was up already and were rather astonished its “crazy” form. Later next day I would get the invitation from their office to give a lecture about my design explaining the column structural complexity.

 

The next morning I had to explain some structural details to the security officer who was worried about the tiny rods (Ř22mm) holding the “pear” support and the column going up swinging erratically under the wind. I told the officer that according my calculation the column peak would move for about 1cm at a wind speed of 1km/hour. That would mean that at wind speed of 50km/hour the peak would move for say 50cm. Then we stood on the bridge and looked up to the column and I was so astonished about the peak movements in an elliptic form that made me almost queasy. The officer was astounded too and looking at the 3 pairs of tendons asked: “Comrade Engineer, what would happen if one of these tiny rods gets cut maliciously?” On my first impulse I suggested to replace it instantly. Then even more worried he asked about if both rods of one tendon pair get ruined by explosive. I answered straightforwardly: “Get far away from the column fast! It will collapse for sure!” He left me alone most worried and deeply concerned with the security measures. He left irritated thinking about how to organize the necessary controls instantly.

 

I passed around the buzzing pavilion with the interior decorators and artists looking after their pieces of arts being properly placed within the pavilion area. I wanted to make out the progress on the Yugoslav restaurant that construction started belatedly. Our idea was to invite Mrs. Rosenberg’s son Roger and his wife for a dinner on opening day tomorrow. Thus we wanted to thank our hostess for giving Liljana the accommodation without any additional charge to me. Unfortunately the restaurant was by far not ready so I decided see the Commissar who acted like director of the Pavilion. On my way I met one of the BSQC supervisors who was looking after me and happily handed me a letter of invitation from his office. By this invitation the Bureau kindly asked if I could held a lecture to the Belgium Engineering Society about “the column” now standing firmly in front of Yugoslav pavilion.

 

      

 

At left the view upwards from “pear” hold by pairs of tendons up to column tip. The erection crew from Zagreb

and the author (left at centre) standing on the bridge below tripod on right picture.

  

I went straightforwardly to the Commissar to explain the invitation and how it would be a good opportunity to publicize this unique project. I asked him for a few days of allowance extension that was to be beyond fixed time of my stay on the EXPO. He was rather busy and nervous about the short time left for all works to be completed on time so he bluntly refused my request. He said nervously: “Look, I have so many of these artists who mingle around not being able to finish their job in time. All of them want more daily allowances and I cannot spend more than my allowed budget means.” I must have looked at him with some distrust and misapprehension so he continued in appeasing tune: “Look, comrade engineer, you accomplished your task well and on point in time. You deserve to go home in good content what you did for your country.” I thanked him with a rather dour smile and left the site not to return to it anymore.

 

      

 

The views of the Yugoslav pavilion after the opening – at left the south elevation and the entrance at right.

 

On my way to my quarter I had to pass the Hungarian pavilion where I found out that their restaurant was open. On my first thought I went in a found the maitre d’ and reserved a table for 4 persons for the next evening. On the EXPO opening day of April 17 there was a free entrance after the opening ceremony would be over that would save me expense for entrance tickets too. Liljana was somehow surprised about early return but she accepted to accompany me to the city where I had to the Bureau regarding their invitation. My wife did not like the Brussels tramway because of its nasty acceleration but I promised her to show some city’s celebrities like the “Mannequin Piss” and others. Short after the midday I got to the BSQC Head office where one of secretaries directed me to the Director straight away. First I thanked him for the invitation for a lecture about “the column” that pleased me a lot. Yet I had to regret much not being able to accept this significant invitation as the political commissar would not allow me to prolong my stay. At first the gentleman grinned incredulously about my explanation but then thanked heartedly for my coming. He wished me all the best for the future adding that I was certainly for the most part a talented civil engineer he met up to now. We said goodbyes and I left this Bureau for the last time. Now, I was a free man … for a while at least.

 

      

 

Northern access to the pavilion at left (Portuguese pavilion in background) and the column total view right

 

We did not attend the opening ceremony and spent the day in sightseeing the city centre. That evening Roger Rosenberg and his pretty young wife arrived and drove in their car to the main entrance from where it was the shortest way to the Hungarian restaurant. Table was ready for us and after an aperitif of peach brandy we ordered meals to be Hungarian specialties. The dinner passed in perfect mood except for me counting the costs so that the end sum would not get over budgeted amount I had with me. When the waiter brought the dessert menu I told my wife in Croatian to choose the cheapest cake on the menu. Out of blue sky the waiter said in Croatian: “Take the Dobosh tart. It’s very good and I won’t charge more than you can pay!” This was the surprise of the day! The waiter came from Subotica in Yugoslav Vojvodina so with his help the dinner ended in an excellent and joyful mood. We left the restaurant and went to have view what was going on EXPO entertaining area. However there was such a crowd of onlookers and many loudspeakers blaring aloud that one could walk freely and any conversation was just impossible.

 

     

 

The pavilions colored pictures show Yugoslav pavilion at left and Hungarian one at right

 

Roger suggested he would take to the city and show us something brand new in Brussels. It was nice saloon with tables set in semicircle around a stage and a translucent screen in background. We attended probably the first strip-tease performance on the Continent. The show was really graceful and lady performers were real beauties. The very conclusive sex scenes behind the translucent sheet were in an essence decent so that both our ladies did not object to look at. This was a perfect evening to say goodbye to our new won friends and to Brussels World’s Fair 1958. The next Liljana and I boarded the train for Paris to meet our brother-in-law there and spent a few days in sightseeing the town and few of its significant buildings like Eiffel tour, Museum of Louvers etc. We went to a show at Moulin Rouge but found the strip-tease of Brussels more entertaining. Our trip passed too fast and we returned to our home at Zagreb.  

 

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 

Epilogue

 

The architect Vjenceslav Richter honored my contribution and work on the project of Yugoslav pavilion rather late in 1958 after all. The amount he paid somehow meager and not adequate for the time I have spent on this project. However it helped us to finance the move to our first own flat in Zagreb.

 

Several years later Richter published an article about the Yugoslav pavilion on the EXPO 1958 in Brussels. The article appeared in special magazine “L’Archicture d’aujourd’Hui”.

 

Early in 1959 Roger Rosenberg sent us the birthday card informing that his wife gave birth to a boy. Their son is the “result” of the dinner in Hungarian restaurant in April 1958. What a pleasing result it was!

 

The Yugoslav pavilion at EXPO 1958 World Fair was renowned for its futuristic design. Now it is the best conserved of most EXPO buildings and is still in use as a classroom in Saint Paulus College at Wevelgem, Belgium.

 

         

 

 

Copyright © Zvonko Springer, Anif (Austria) 2008.

 

Photographs and colored enclosures:

 

1. Monograph of Vjenceslav Richter, Editor Vera Horvat-Pintarić; Printed and

    Copyright by GRAFIČKI ZAVOD HRVATSKE, Zagreb 1970.

 

2. B&W photographs from Zvonko Springer records.

 

3. Colored inserts are from following URLs:

 

    http://users.pandora.be/nevi/expomap/index.htm ,

    http://users.skynet.be/rentfarm/expo58/viewmaster/index.htm .

 


DISCLAIMER : On URL: http://www.cosy.sbg.ac.at/~zzspri/ published pages are originals and authorized by copyright of Zvonko Z. Springer, Salzburg 1999.

Email Zvonko Springer at : zzspri@aon.at