[The Crystal Palace] “was birth of modern architecture” – Norman Foster.
The Crystal Palace and glass have brought a new imagination, a new way of thinking about society. The CP establishes a strong relationship of scale and a break with tradition, marking a turning point in the history of architecture. The context in which the CP was built, along with its size, made it known that it could accommodate the whole world in its own right. Derived from the greenhouse, it also fascinated by the new interior environment it created and the transparency it induced. The glass construction made it possible to rethink the society and to ask the following question: How to be an individual in daylight ? What kind of social reorganization was needed in the face of this new exhibition? Glass became here the material of utopia, of transparency, of the idea of keeping all one’s actions uncovered and will be the material of the reconciliation of social struggles.
What if we replaced Crystal Palace and glass with a platform and free plan?
“This day is one of the greatest and most glorious of our lives… It is a day which makes my heart swell with thankfulness… The Park presented a wonderful spectacle, crowds streaming through it, – carriages and troops passing… The Green Park and Hyde Park were one mass of densely crowded human beings, in the highest good humour… before we neared the Crystal Palace [plateform] , the sun shone and gleamed upon the gigantic edifice, upon which the flags of every nation were flying… The sight as we came to the centre where the steps and chair (on which I did not sit) was placed, facing the beautiful crystal fountain was magic and impressive. The tremendous cheering, the joy expressed in every face, the vastness of the building, with all its decoration and exhibits, the sound of the organ… all this was indeed moving”
– Queen Victoria, 1st May 1851.