A History of Western Architecture – David Watkin – Crystal Palace

pg 471 – William Burges* and his contemporaries were, like their patrons, in revolt against the materialism and the swualor which the unchecked tide of the industrail revolution was bringing in its wake. Ruskin was perhaps the most influential of those who condemned the inhumane consequences of the new technology. Like Pugin, he included among these the Crystal Palace, built in Hyde Park to house

pg 472 – the Great exhibition of 1851 from designs by Sir Joseph Paxton. This astonishing sturcutre of cast iron, wrought iron and glass, rising in three stepped tieres bisected by a higher barrel – vaulted transept, has sometimes been hailed as a revolutionary step on the way to modern architecture. In fact, it would be more appropriate to regard it as the climax of a more tradtion of greenhouse and railway-shed design established in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Iron and glass were not, and never have been, appropriate materials for anything more than a very narrow range of building types. Paxton himself knew this. It would also be wrong to regard the Crystal Palace as merely a technological solution of a practical problem. 

 

 

 

 

 

(Wiki – 2 December 1827 – 20 April 1881 was an English architect  Among the greatest of the Victorian art-architects, he sought in his work to escape from both nineteenth-century industrialisation and theNeoclassical architectural style and re-establish the architectural and social values of a utopian medieval England. Burges stands within the tradition of the Gothic Revival, his works echoing those of the Pre-Raphaelites and heralding those of theArts and Crafts movement.

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