Monday, 17 Jan, 2011 Offbeat

World's First Skyscraper Was Erected in Britain, Not the United States


Untill now two skyscrapers were involved in the competition for the first skyscraper ever built - the Home Insurance building, erected in 1885 in Chicago and Equitable Life Assurance Building, constructed in 1870 in New York.

Recently, however, it was unveiled that the earliest skyscraper was built in Britain by Charles Burton. His creation was a 1,000 foot (305 meters) high metal and glass structure, which was erected after he was called to redesign The Crystal Palace. The latter was a famous London exhibition building built 30-odd years before the American buildings.

It would be interesting to note that after the Great Exhibition that took place back in 1851 it was decided to move The Crystal Palace from Hyde Park.

Burton was the one who proposed stacking an iron frame 50 storeys high. Thus he was the first to suggest constructing a skyscraper. The designs of the building were published in The Builder in 1851/2.

In the end, Sydenham in south east London became the place where the Palace was brought piece by piece. The building was renamed Crystal Palace. The fire of 1936 destroyed the building.

On January 19, the architectural plan of Charles Burton is going to be auctioned at the annual Bonhams Gentleman's Library Sale. It is expected to be purchased for between GBP800-1,000 ($1,200-1,600).

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