The Palace of Electricity and the Water Castle  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Palace of Electricity and the Water Castle was a pavilion at the Exposition Universelle (1900) designed by Edmond Paulin and Eugène Hénard.

Hénard designed the Palace of Electricity, which provided power to the other pavilions. Paulin created the huge water tower that served as its facade. It was an extraordinary structure, including a huge waterfall and crowned by a statue of the Genius of Electricity over 6 m high.

The Palace of Electricity and the adjoining Water Castle (Chateau d'Eau) designed by architects Eugène Hénard and Edmond Paulin, were among the most popular sights. The Palace of Electricity was built partly incorporating architectural elements of the old Palace of the Champ de Mars from the 1889 Exposition.The Palace was enormous, 420 meters long and 60 meters wide, and its form suggested a giant peacock spreading its tail. The central tower was crowned by an enormous illuminated star and a chariot carrying a statue of the Spirit of Electricity 6.5 meters high, holding aloft a torch powered by 50,000 volts of electricity, provided by the steam engines and generators inside the Palace. Producing the light for the Exposition consumed 200,000 kilograms of oil an hour.

The facade of the Palace and the Water Castle, across from it, were lit by an additional 7,200 incandescent lamps and seventeen arc lamps. Visitors could go inside to see the steam-powered generators which provided electricity for the buildings of the Exposition.

The Water castle, facing the Palace of Electricity, had an equally imposing appearance. It had two large domes, between which was a gigantic fountain, circulating one hundred thousand liters of water a minute. Thanks to the power from Palace of Electricity, the fountain was illuminated at night by continually changing colored lights. The architects of the ensemble were Eugène Hénard and Edmond Paulin.

The Gallery of Machines, on the Left Bank, was another major exhibition building, dedicated to displaying the advances in industrial technology at the end of the century.

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