So, from all of us here at Stark Industries, I would like to personally introduce you to the city of the future.
The Stark Expo was made up of several different locations that, when combined, create the sense of a larger and more connected reality than is actually possible. The Stark Expo takes place on the site of the 1964 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Aerial photography was used to depict the overall location, featuring the New York Pavilion and the Observation Towers. Plate photography was enhanced by special effects in order to make this location look like a thriving, year-long Expo.
Stark Expo Main Pavilion
The film opens and closes for Iron Man at the Stark Expo, a year long tech fair that Tony has re-opened in honor of his father. At the end of the film, Justin Hammer unveils his Hammer Drones, designed by Ivan Vanko, which proceed to destroy the New York Pavilion. The interior of the Stark Expo Main Pavilion was shot, in part, at the Microsoft Theater (formerly the Nokia Theater) at LA Live.
Stark Expo Hallways, Plaza, and Stairway
Several locations were used to make up the look of the Stark Expo. Besides the aerial and background photography of the Flushing Meadows location, the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts was the next most used location. The design aesthetic of this school, which was being built at the time, informs the futuristic style that the Expo presents. POV scenes of Tony leaving the Expo at the start of the film (where he meets Stan Lee in his cameo as “Larry King”), his meeting with Kate Mara’s US Marshall, and some stair scenes (with or without Hammer Drones) were filmed on this small, private Los Angeles campus.
Stark Expo Main Staircase and Fountains
The Sepulveda Dam was used for filming some shots at the NY Expo including the main staircase, flying through the fountains, and various explosions. The production erected giant walls made up of shipping containers, which were draped with green screen material, and set up the main approach to the pavilion. Scenes with the curved main stairs, the fountains and explosions, which occur around the conclusion of the Drone battle with Iron Man and War Machine, were shot at this location, according to Cinefex #122.
Stark Expo LG and Audi Pavilions
Much of the crowd sequences avoiding the drone attack take place in the courtyard at LA Live, outside the Microsoft Theater (which was called the Nokia Theater, when this film was shot). Shots of the crowds being attacked and running away from the drones near the LG Pavilion and the Audi pavilion occur in this plaza area. As stated above, the interior shots of the Stark and Justin Hammer presentations (in the Main Pavilion) occurred inside the theater.
Stark Expo Oracle Pavilion & Gardens
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens was used as the basis for the the fight between the Hammer Drones and Iron Man & War Machine, but these scenes were not actually filmed at that location. The gardens were recreated as a set on a soundstage allowing the destruction and mayhem to happen without fear of destroying the museum property.
(Iron Man 2, 2010)