Palacio de Cristal

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The Palacio de Cristal ("Crystal Palace") is a glass and metal structure located in Madrid's Buen Retiro Park. It was built in 1887 to exhibit flora and fauna from the Philippines, then a Spanish colonial possession. The architect was Ricardo Velázquez Bosco.

The Palacio de Cristal, in the shape of a Greek cross, is made almost entirely of glass set in an iron framework on a brick base, which is decorated with ceramics. Its cupola makes the structure over 22 metres high. Glass and iron construction on a large scale was already to be seen at Madrid's Delicias station (1880). However the curved architecture of the Palacio de Cristal is more comparable to the techniques of Joseph Paxton (who was responsible for London's Crystal Palace and also for greenhouses such as the Palm House at Kew Gardens).

The structure was designed in a way that would allow it to be re-erected on another site (as happened to the equivalent building in London). However, the building has remained on the original site, next to a lake, and has been restored to its original appearance. It is no longer used as a greenhouse, and is currently used for art exhibits.

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