The iron structure and glass enclosure of the Crystal Palace were very lightweight in comparison to massive masonry buildings of its time. Because of its light weight the building had a simple, minimalist foundation formed by an intersecting grid of concrete footings. The footings serve to distribute the load of the buildings structure and guests down through the columns to the soil (fig. 1). The original footings still exist today under the topsoil in Hyde Park.

The flooring system was designed for the quick cleanup of the the exhibit galleries. The floor consisted of large wood planks laid with a substantial gap between each adjacent plank. After the crowd of 25,000 departed the opening ceremonies on May 1st 1851, workers could easily sweep the dirt carried on those soles through the gaps in the floor (fig. 2).