Crystal Palace
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Architect Joseph Paxton
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Location London, England (then Sydenham)   map
Date 1851, moved 1852, burnt 1936   timeline
Building Type exposition hall
 Construction System cast iron and glass
Climate temperate
Context exposition campus
Style Victorian
Notes Modular construction system - prefabricated iron sections. Floor area of 770,000 sq ft.,1851 ft long, 450 ft wide.


Photo, elevation overview of original building


Detail Drawing



Section Drawing


Engraving, perspective overview, eye level

...more drawings available on The GBC CD-ROM

Discussion Crystal Palace Commentary

"Built out of prefabricated and wrought-iron elements and based on a four-foot module, this 1,848-foot-long ferro-vitreous construction was erected to the designs of Joseph Paxton and Charles Fox, of Fox, Henderson & Co. Its interior volume was organized into galleries which were alternately 24 feet and 48 feet wide. The roof of these galleries stepped up by 20 feet every 72 feet and culminated in a central nave 72 feet wide. The 'ridge and furrow' roof glazing system specially devised for the occasion required 49-inch glass sheets capable of spanning between furrows 8 feet apart, with three ridges occurring every 24 feet."

— Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. p11.

Sources on Crystal Palace

Modern Architecture 1851-1945. Kenneth Frampton. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. ISBN 0-8478-0506-9. LC 83-61363. NA642.F7 1983. perspective drawing, p4. typical details of modular components, p5. section, p11. perspective drawing, p12. — Available at

Architecture of the 19th Century in Europe. Claude Mignot. New York: Rizzoli International, date. exterior photo, p182.

Technics and Architecture: The Development of Materials and Systems for Buildings. Cecil D. Elliot. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1992. ISBN 0-262-05045-5. LC 91-28298. discussion and illustrations, p86-87. discussion, including a long contemporary description by Charles Dickens, and illustration, p131-132. — An excellent, fascinating book on development of building-related technologies and processes, and how they intertwine over time with building aesthetics. Available at

Article in Scientific American.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Crystal Palace


Web Resources
Links on Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace, or The Great Exhibition of 1851: An Overview

The Design of the Crystal PalaceA great academic project at Virginia

Crystal Palace at ArchiplanetFind, add, and edit info at the all-buildings collaboration

We appreciate your  suggestions  for links about Crystal Palace.

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