EPCOT Aesthetics V - The Land
In its similarity with the angular contours and crystalline structure of Journey into Imagination, The Land, at first glance, is yet another outlier in aesthetics for EPCOT’s Future World West. Future World West is governed by the natural sciences, and her aesthetic make-up follows this form. Natural, flowing shapes guide thematic sensibilities: copious amounts of water and organic shapes frame curving pathways, and foliage is trimmed to be pastoral and naturally manicured. The Land, meanwhile, was a mountain of glass and steel, yet, its symbolism and visual trickery ease it squarely into the thematics of Future World West’s bucolic overtones. Although towering, the glass dome of The Land was meant to resemble a hill, or small mountain. Not unlike Journey into Imagination, it uses glass to temper its texture and appear reflective, and bright. Contrast this to the World of Motion, across in the engineering dominated Future World East that uses stainless steel to appear monumental and aloof. The Land’s glass allowed it to reflect give off an organic tone, as sky and surrounding foliage become part of the pavilion’s face.
The form of the mountain was also partitioned by individual facets of glass, and this pattern was redolent of a massive greenhouse, appropriate for The Land’s message of agriculture and food production. The pavilion’s show building, meanwhile was hidden by grassy hills and manicured gardens, leaving only The Land’s massive mountain greenhouse dome visible above the tree line.
The Land’s entrance also was devised to distract from the sheer size and shape of the pavilion. Built on an incline, and surrounded by large swaths of tile murals, the entrance to the pavilion was recessed, dark, and almost cavernous, almost a totally organic experience. The mosaics are abstract, earthy, homespun, and only futuristic by nature of the materials used. These murals, combined with the cavernous entrance, adds up to the sensation of walking into the earth and loam to get into the pavilion’s main atrium. This experience of walking into The Land, both metaphorically and physically, sets the tone for what was, perhaps, what was EPCOT’s most well planned and fully realized pavilion.
Today, this experience has thankfully not changed much from the first iteration that greeted EPCOT visitors from 1982 to 2004. The only true change is the upkeep of the gardens around The Land. Instead of the neat and clean berms of trimmed flowers and shrubs that graced the central walkway into the pavilion, this area is now wholly organic, and almost wild. Tall trees have been planted directly in front of the entrance, and they almost compete with the greenhouse dome for attention.
This, of course, is a much more organic choice, thematically, for the pavilion, and when walking into the pavilion, it does feel woodsy, and more appropriate. However, from afar, the trees and bramble dull the pavilion and its monumental architecture. This architecture is something that EPCOT survives on, and flourishes under. EPCOT is a show place, a museum, built to boast topic and theme. Obscuring the symbolism and form of the land belittles the function of the pavilion. That said, the choice made is simply just a new aesthetic direction for the pavilion, and warranted one. Perhaps a happy medium can be sought in future iterations of The Land’s exterior and the greenhouse dome can be complimented, not overtaken, by a woodsy and organic undergrowth.
This is part of a continuing series on EPCOT’s aesthetics and color composition.
Journeys in Space:
World of Motion:
Journey into Imagination:
Universe of Energy:
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