Crystal Palace 1854 to 1936 on going project…

Crystal Palace 1854 to 1936 on going project…
The Crystal Palace building is the 1851 Great Exhibition building moved to Sydenham Hill from Hyde park and made larger. Over its 82 year life it spent a lot of times changing as a exhibition center and a number of fires one eventually destroying it. At the moment the only thing left is some sphinx’s, large garden walls, engineering building (Now the museum) and the 1st full sized dinosaurs ever seen.
I down loaded a Google site map and the exhibition building from 3D warehouse and started mucking about with it to see roughly would look like. I think that was about 11 years ago, well that was the oldest model I found☹. I now help out at the museum and have learnt a lot from research and Ken Kiss the curator and other volunteers, probably should remodel the building. I have focused on the building and site in 1854 but would be interested in doing though time, as I say it is a on going project…


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Done as a Zoom Background Thea Render and Photoshop.
The people on the right are Henry Cole the inventor of the Christmas Card and sticky postage stamps, Prince Albert main promoter, Joseph Paxton building designer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel who deigned the chimneys /water towers (I am half way through a detailed technical model of those). The person reading at the back is meant to be Charles Dickens a main promoter ( I could not find any pictures of him with legs).

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Straight from Sketchup

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Over all Park the fountains where 250’ high designed to compete with Versailles fountains but cost far too much to run.


Animation dose anyone know how to smooth the path and animate the fountains?

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There is a building near downtown Dallas that looks like it might have been designed based on this building.

What tool did you use to do the animation?

This is insanely good/cool.

Awesome, and so pleasing to watch. :smiley:

Hi ntxdave
Yes the building in Dallas is a modern copy I think there is a crystal fountain in it which would have been in the original.
The animation is straight Sketchup with Styles with watermarks and the lines are made gray. Tip don’t use jitter lines it slows down to much.

Didn’t realize you were a fellow Brit @d1cardew!

You probably know that Paxton designed it in an insanely short timeframe in a material (cast iron) that was quite new at the time. It was extraordinary that it stood up at all, cast iron being so brittle.

When I was young, I went past the tower at Crystal Palace, where the building once stood, on a weekly basis. I learnt to drive on a slab of tarmac near its base and took my test in the roads around it. My mother lived at Beckenham, not far away, and well remembers watching the building burn from her bedroom window. Quite a sight, I imagine.

Great work BTW. Are you planning a flythrough? That would be awesome.

And here’s more inspiration: recreate the 1951 Festival of Britain Exhibition. Another place we used to go when young was Battersea Park. I always remember being puzzled by the landscape of what I later learnt had been created for the exhibition and left behind when all the exhibits (including the amazing Skylon) were removed. A rather sad and desolate husk.

Hi Simon
The design and build time was extraordinary it was something like 6 hour sketch design 6 weeks detailed design and 6 months build, it might be multiples of 9?
I think it could be said that it was the first recyclable building using cast iron, glass and wood as it was only meant to last 6 months but was so successful it got moved. Richard Rogers was highly influenced by it, he did his dissertation on it. The top of the Lloyd’s building has a owed to it it and the millennium dome has that temporary style. All Expo buildings have a direct relationship to the Crystal Palace building.
I was going to do a fly-through but need to model up some of the interior decoration, it is just a bit of a big shed without it.
I was going do The 1911 Festival of Empire there where three-quarter size models of Empire Parliamentary buildings.


I have meant some other people would learnt to drive there.

Can you provide a link to the original building on the 3D warehouse? I’m curious to know who created the building (or at least who uploaded it to the warehouse).

Hi TDahi

I think is was a Damo he a has done lots of good models. I think I have remodel it about 4 times since then.

Can you view the interior? The exterior work is spectacular. A walk through would be mind blowing.

Hi mmarcovitch
There is this guy in the film industry I have meet who has done a fantasist 360 VR with Maya of the interior who never seams to come back to me when I email him, not sure what is happening there. So I focused on the exterior but I do want to do this seen, https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Joseph-Nash/The-Opening-Of-The-Crystal-Palace-Sydenham-By-Queen-Victoria-On-10th-June-1854.html
All the technical drawing where lost in the fire and trying to workout where everything goes is fun. There was Egyptian, Medieval and Italian court yards which would be good to do.

I am helping with a Film Director who is developing a AR Audio Binary walk round which is interesting. Eventual I am hoping to do it as a AR walk round. I am starting to look at the technology Trimble site vision maybe the way to go as most stable accurate system but lacks high res presentation.


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As with all prefab structures, I wonder if this too is much more complicated than it seems. How many different parts are there?

Thanks! It was a stupendous undertaking and happened when Britain was the leading society on the planet. It was a big deal with Prince Albert leading the project. We probably couldn’t pull it off today. Were the lattice modules single iron castings or built up?

Hi I have 84 components some of them are mutable grouped so probably less but I am missing things like handrails and stair details roof construction. There is lots of funny things gong on like how the corners go together the bottom two floors need changing as I did them as 20’ floor to floor and later discovered that they are 29’ and 22’. Its interesting that I started out just trying to workout the mass and floor plans where it is better to start from technical details which is why it probably wants completely redoing as some point.

With Bunuel,s towers I started with Ken Kiss the curators technical drawings which he has worked out, he is an engineer. There where some old technical done just after the towers where built but they where wrong as well. There is a interesting balance between historically accurate archaeology and visuals produced for entertainment to raise interest.