“The Century’s Most Daring and Iconic Building Was Entrusted to a Gardener”

(p. 10) . . . the risks were considerable and keenly felt, yet after only a few days of fretful hesitation the commissioners approved Paxton’s plan. Nothing–really, absolutely nothing–says more about Victorian Britain and its capacity for brilliance than that the century’s most daring and iconic building was entrusted to a gardener. Paxton’s Crystal Palace required no bricks at all–indeed, no mortar, no cement, no foundations. It was just bolted together and sat on the ground like a tent. This was not merely an (p. 11) ingenious solution to a monumental challenge but also a radical departure from anything that had ever been tried before.

Source:
Bryson, Bill. At Home: A Short History of Private Life. New York: Doubleday, 2010.
(Note: ellipsis added.)

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