“The expositions changed the medium through which Islamic architecture was introduced to the West from drawings and descriptions to actual buildings.” (Zeynep Çelik)
Architecture was a key component of the International Exhibitions, the grandeur of which had a significant effect on urban development. The Crystal Palace was an unprecedented innovation. Built in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, with the interior decorated by the designer-architect Owen Jones, the building was a triumph of steel-and-glass architecture that made a marked impact on the evolution of architectural style and building methods. The concept of erecting a single building was gradually abandoned: for the Paris Exhibition held in Paris in 1855 an entire complex of buildings was constructed. All host countries aspired to significant Exhibition architecture as a symbol of modernity and cosmopolitanism, and in many cases, the architecture has endured as a symbol of the city. Many of the buildings erected for Exhibitions drew inspiration from Islamic architecture; similarly, contact with the West through World’s Fairs fostered the development of a “neo-Islamic” style in the Arab and Ottoman world.