The City of Domes

John D. Barry, The City of Domes: A Walk with an Architect about the Courts and Palaces of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with a Discussion of its Architecture, its Sculpture, its Mural Decorations, its Coloring, and its Lighting, Preceded by a History of its Growth. San Francisco: John J. Newbegin, 1915.

The City of Domes is a description of the art and architecture of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. It consist primarily of the author’s observations and discussions with the architect as they traverse the expo grounds. One of the recurring themes discussed is the conscious use of color throughout the grounds, though sadly the plates in the book have not been colorized. One of the architect’s final thoughts as night descends upon the expo:

Suddenly the lights on the tower glowed into red. The tower itself seemed to become thinner and finer in outline.

“There are people who don’t like this color,” said the architect. “It’s fashionable nowadays to feel a prejudice against red. But it is one of the most beautiful colors in nature and one of nature’s greatest favorites, associated with fire and with flowers. To me the tower is never so beautiful as it is when the red light seemed to burn from a fire inside….” (pg. 106)