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A New Crystal Palace? Chinese Billionaire Reveals Plan To Replace London's Glass Wonder

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/a-new-crystal-palace-chinese-billionaire-reveals-plan-to-replace-londons-glass-wonder-8856548.html

An art-loving Chinese billionaire today unveiled his plans to recreate the Crystal Palace as a £500m cultural attraction to replace the glass and steel Victorian building that once captivated the world.

Ni Zhaoxing, a property developer, used a launch event in the grounds of the south London park where the original Crystal Palace burnt down in 1936 to reveal his goal of building a "jewel in the crown for Britain and the world" to employ 2,000 people.

The proposal to rebuild a modern version of Joseph Paxton's famous glass house, which housed the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park before being moved south of the Thames, was welcomed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who denied that the plans amounted to an "act of nostalgia".

..

Mr Ni, 57, insisted that his dream of recreating the 500m-long and 50m-high building, which will act as concert and exhibition venue as well as housing a potential hotel and convention centre, was about providing a legacy to London after he fell in love with the idea of resurrecting Paxton's creation, widely regarded as one of the crowning achievements of Britain's Industrial Revolution.

Is London short of hotel and conference space? Although it could certainly be an impressive building.

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/a-new-crystal-palace-chinese-billionaire-reveals-plan-to-replace-londons-glass-wonder-8856548.html

Is London short of hotel and conference space? Although it could certainly be an impressive building.

It will be great to see this rebuilt. UK developers are too risk averse for this, and lack the Victorian style boldness that the Chinese are embracing.

As for weather it will work - I think the hotel and centre could work. It's not too far from Gatwick. Crystal Palace isn't too fashionable but what better way to change that and attract people and business than a stunning structure? Even if it doesn't work out as intended there will be a great legacy.

I dislike the attitiude in the UK of some saying it's just nostalgia and shouldn't be rebuilt. It's quite unique, and many European cities rebuilt exactly as they were after world war 2. In Berlin right now they have demolished the post ww2 East German parliamant and are rebuilding the original palace that stood on site until 1950

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/germany-launches-building-berlin-palace-replica

Edited by sf-02

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But the scheme was greeted with caution by park users and residents, who have fought off previous plans to regenerate the 180-acre site by adding housing. Protesters held a banner reading "Parks for people, not for profit" as Mr Ni toured the terraces where the palace once stood, now covered in scrubby woodland.

So there we have it. Glass wonder of London or dog toilet for local home owners?

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Another website I read had a post from someone who said that HS2 was bad as it would ruin a dog walk for him. I kid you not.

Its the core of most objections and they have even put paid to developers building on a small clump of scrappy woodland here in Huddersfield. All it is really is a local pooch toilet. That doesn't stop them deploying all their green and environmental credentials to stop any form of development of course

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So there we have it. Glass wonder of London or dog toilet for local home owners?

Hmm... the park itself is very nice (and already has a concert space - also dinosaurs, a big sports venue, a cafe, etc.). The terraces where the palace stood are a little unloved (without the palace, they're a bit pointless), but, as a whole, it's a nice environment.

Not objecting to them rebuilding the palace - just sticking up for the park.

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It will be great to see this rebuilt. UK developers are too risk averse for this, and lack the Victorian style boldness that the Chinese are embracing.

As for weather it will work - I think the hotel and centre could work. It's not too far from Gatwick. Crystal Palace isn't too fashionable but what better way to change that and attract people and business than a stunning structure? Even if it doesn't work out as intended there will be a great legacy.

I dislike the attitiude in the UK of some saying it's just nostalgia and shouldn't be rebuilt. It's quite unique, and many European cities rebuilt exactly as they were after world war 2. In Berlin right now they have demolished the post ww2 East German parliamant and are rebuilding the original palace that stood on site until 1950

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/germany-launches-building-berlin-palace-replica

Yes Also check out the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Christ_the_Saviour

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Hmm... the park itself is very nice (and already has a concert space - also dinosaurs, a big sports venue, a cafe, etc.). The terraces where the palace stood are a little unloved (without the palace, they're a bit pointless), but, as a whole, it's a nice environment.

Not objecting to them rebuilding the palace - just sticking up for the park.

Well I hope they keep the classic and iconic lattice tower of the Crystal Palace transmitter. Used to get my telly from there!

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Guest eight

Well I hope they keep the classic and iconic lattice tower of the Crystal Palace transmitter. Used to get my telly from there!

Bring back Matt Jansen and Attilio Lombardo.

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Bring back Matt Jansen and Attilio Lombardo.

I would have loved to have seen the 1851 Great Exhibition. The illustrations I have seen show it to have been spectacular.

If this proposed reconstruction is to be faithful to the original, I'm not sure how viable it will be in terms of practicality though.

Before it burned down, what was it actually used for?

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I've never quite managed to understand how an edifice made of glass and steel managed to burn down, I suspect that after its heyday it was owned by a Victorian version of Jimmy Godden.

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Guest eight

I would have loved to have seen the 1851 Great Exhibition. The illustrations I have seen show it to have been spectacular.

If this proposed reconstruction is to be faithful to the original, I'm not sure how viable it will be in terms of practicality though.

Before it burned down, what was it actually used for?

It must have been almost literally unbelievable in it's day - if only the Millenium Dome could have been half as awe-inspiring for our generation.

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I've never quite managed to understand how an edifice made of glass and steel managed to burn down, I suspect that after its heyday it was owned by a Victorian version of Jimmy Godden.

It was wood and glass mostly.

My concern is that we simply don't have craftsmen of the caliber required to rebuild it, our glorious leaders sent them all to the Somme to die.

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It will be great to see this rebuilt. UK developers are too risk averse for this, and lack the Victorian style boldness that the Chinese are embracing.

It is a bit of a pet project by an art lover as opposed to a hard headed business decision. Can't see the investment ever being repaid, but it could become iconic like Tower Bridge and sort of a gift to the Nation.

Perhaps this Chinese/ British trade gap thing is that bad after all. We buy their cheap crap and get something decent in return.

Edited by crashmonitor

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Well I hope they keep the classic and iconic lattice tower of the Crystal Palace transmitter. Used to get my telly from there!

Heh - I was up on the roof a few weeks ago positioning an aerial. Really helps to have a honking great tower to aim at... my daughter came back from her first day at primary school and told us with great confidence that it was very near Paris due to being able to see it from one of the toilets...

Edited by tomandlu

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I've never quite managed to understand how an edifice made of glass and steel managed to burn down, I suspect that after its heyday it was owned by a Victorian version of Jimmy Godden.

Lots of wood in the construction, plus it had become home to a down-market collection of stalls, turning it into something of a fire-trap.

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Lots of wood in the construction, plus it had become home to a down-market collection of stalls, turning it into something of a fire-trap.

Reminds me of Blackpool's own Crystal Palace...... the Winter Gardens. This must be the natural life cycle of some of these great Victorian buildings. Starting classy and going down-market. About ten years ago the Winter Gardens boasted fruit machines in the grand lobby and a mini racing car circuit for kids whilst the Victorian splendour was falling to bits, along with Blackpool itself now devoid of even attracting a conference.

I gather they have tried to reverse this ''down-market'' trend with a restoration project in the last few years.

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Reminds me of Blackpool's own Crystal Palace...... the Winter Gardens. This must be the natural life cycle of some of these great Victorian buildings. Starting classy and going down-market. About ten years ago the Winter Gardens boasted fruit machines in the grand lobby and a mini racing car circuit for kids whilst the Victorian splendour was falling to bits, along with Blackpool itself now devoid of even attracting a conference.

I gather they have tried to reverse this ''down-market'' trend with a restoration project in the last few years.

Not least the famous 'Blackpool Tower' rent fully extracted by various private owners, restoration carried out by the local Council of course. dry.gif

Edited by aSecureTenant

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Lots of wood in the construction, plus it had become home to a down-market collection of stalls, turning it into something of a fire-trap.

The historian Jan Piggott told me that he thought it was faulty electric wiring – apparently it was badly in need of replacing. The fire broke out at night in the Ladies toilets, and by the time Sir Henry Buckland and his daughter Chrystal [not Crystal - apparently Wiki is wrong here] discovered the blaze, and called the Penge fire brigade, it had too great a hold. The fluff and flammable debris accumulated under the wooden staging was said to be another factor, rather like the Kings Cross tube fire.

Some years ago, I was giving a lecture on the designers Owen Jones and Christopher Dresser at the Dulwich Picture gallery. I talked about Jones's work at the Crystal Palace, and inadvertently nearly caused a fight in the audience. I said that we had an enormous amount of plans and illustrations (including photographs) of the original, and we could very easily rebuild it accurately. To my amazement, this was a very controversial thing to say, as there were fanatical re-builders in the audience, opposed by equally fanatical opponents of doing such a thing. I still think it would be a good idea to rebuild, for a lot of reasons, but I am more careful as to where I would say it.

As for a down-market collection of stalls, that was true of part of it, but the absolutely amazing Ancient Egyptian court had just been restored in 1935, and if that had survived, it would still be a major tourist attraction.

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