Charles H. Gibbs-Smith
V & A/Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1981, 1970 (second edition); originally published 1950, English
Nonfiction, Architecture

Facsimile edition of documentation of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, held at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851—the first (and highly influential) international exhibition of manufactured products.

On 2 book lists
James Biber

The conception, design, and construction of an enormous, completely demountable, glass, wood, and cast-iron building in nine months would be a miracle today; in 1851 it was a feat of divine intervention. This book, published in facsimile by the V&A from the original and bought during my first trip to Europe, contains the entire set of gorgeous hand-drawn, ink-on-vellum working drawings. From it I learned more about how buildings are put together (and in this case, taken apart and put back together again) than from any other single book. The Crystal Palace was 1,851 feet long (get it?), a trope Daniel Libeskind’s Freedom Tower (1,776 feet high, get it?) seems to have kept alive. Maybe he has a copy of it too…

Ian Ritchie

Chronicles a remarkable building—an inspired masterpiece synthesizing space, light, technique, engineering, construction, efficiency, economy, and delight. This book, which I bought in 1992, documents through exquisite drawings and text the origin of the Crystal Palace through the final construction details. It would be possible to reconstruct the building from this book alone. It inspired me to do the Leipzig Glass Hall book in a similar way.

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