One of the first attractions to begin construction at EPCOT Center was the Universe of Energy. Exxon had been one of the first sponsors to sign on for Future World, and so the design of the pavilion had been locked fairly quickly. Renderings from 1977 show a concept fairly similar to the building’s final appearance in 1982; the only alternate concept that appears to have had any traction in those early days was an idea to make the pavilion a parabolic solar collection.
With its design determined so early in the process, there were few changes over the years to the pavilion’s angular appearance in park renderings. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t minor cosmetic tweaks.
This Imagineering model from 1981 shows an Energy pavilion with a very familiar shape and structure, but very different surroundings and a cool blue vibe that never made it into the actual park. There’s also a lot more water; while the final pavilion would have a triangular reflecting pool surrounding the front marquee, the pools on this model surround the pavilion and extend forward at an aggressive angle. The pools reflect the mirrored sides of the pavilion, which on the model are polished to a bright shine. On the actual building, much of the mirrored sides would be replaced by strips of colored siding.
All in all, while the show and building would be the same, the cool blues, rippling waters and polished mirrors would give this version of the pavilion a very different feeling. The lack of greenery surrounding and overwhelming the pavilion would also help get across the intent of the building’s design – the feeling of something geological, bursting from the ground. I bet it would have been awfully hot to be around on August days, though!