It’s unusual for temporary structures built for a world’s fair to survive past the day the turnstiles stop admitting eager visitors. Along with San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts and Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, the Moorish Kiosk in Mexico City’s Santa Maria de la Ribera neighborhood is a particularly fine example of world’s fair architecture.
Built for exhibition in New Orleans as Mexico’s pavilion at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 and the North, Central and South American Exposition in 1885, the octagon-shaped building was reconstructed in 1902 in St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Later, it stood in the Mexico City’s Alameda Central before being moved to Santa Maria de la Ribera in 1910.
Stylistically, the Kiosko Morisco belongs to the Neo-Moorish or Moorish Revival School, which became popular during the nineteenth century, when fascination with romantic or exotic locales influenced the design arts. The kiosk is built entirely of colorfully painted cast iron and features horseshoe arches and delicate arabesque motifs. I love the kiosk’s whimsical interplay of color, shape, and light.