Evolution of building materials

5 May 2017

In chapter 12 we explore the artistic development in Architecture. When conceptualizing a building architects incorporate three things: function, form, and structure. Function is how the building will be used, form is how the building looks, and structures is how the building remains standing. Architects need to design structures that hold up under any combination of three physical forces; compression, tension, and bending.

To days architects have a plethora of materials at their isposal, they benefit from the evolution of materials and have the opportunity to use them how they wish, but it has not always been this way. Primitive buildings were built using dry masonry, which is a simple technique of stacking stones in a consistent pattern without using any mortar. Buildings such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Great Zimbabwe(190) in East Africa are perfect examples of this type of masonry. In both of these structures the stones are dressed meaning they are cut or shaped before use.

Evolution of building materials Essay Example

Post and beam and arch structure systems were used predominately before the wentieth century, in places like Greece, Rome, and Egypt. The form on post-and- beam structures has to due with the materials used. Stone beams have to be shorter and thicker because stone is brittle and not flexible. Wood however is more flexible so they can be thiner and longer in turn they can be use to create a more open interior space. Arch structure uses stone in a semi-circle atop two columns or piers, bigger versions of columns, creating a Round Arch. There is a stone placed center that hold the arch together known as a keystone.

When a round arc is extend in a epth dimension, the effect is known as a Barrel Vault. When two Barrel Vaults intersect the point of intersection creates a Groin Vault. These types of structures were used by early civilizations of western Asia and the Mediterranean area for underground drains and tombs. Romans were the first to use the technique aboveground and there were able to use it to build things like the Roman Coliseum and the Pont du Gard(192), the aqueduct, which was both a bridges for travel as well as a bridge for water. When an arch is rotated 180 degrees it forms a dome, that is sed in to create huge interior space.

Gothic style architecture introduced a new type of arch, a pointed arch which allowed for wider bases and a more pointed arc, but is uses no keystone. The absence of the keystone creates a weak structure that could not hold up under the tension force. The create the flying buttress, which is a support placed at a 90 degree angle to the arch and holds the structure in place. The next major step in the evolution of Architecture was truss and balloon frame architecture. Trusses are triangular framework use to span air support, such as a russ of house roof, or one used as a side of a bridge.

Balloon framing refers to the use the replacement of thick timbers with thin studs held together by only nails, at first though of as flimsy and weak, but is used today in housing development. The evolution ot metals in the architectural world nave been immense. T development of cast iron allowed for buildings to be put up very quickly, because it is stinger that wood or stone and can span greater distances, The Crystal Place was built in only six months and covered 19 acres of land, it was a marvel of the building world. Next Came Steel and reinforced concrete buildings.

The strength of steel frames and the recent invention of the elevator allowed for the first conceptualized and built skyscrapers. This resulted in the International Style meaning the use of modern material like glass, steel, and concrete to create these types of structures. Domino Construction System, were six supports made of steel are placed in concrete slabs, alleviates the need for support walls, opening the door to building for rooms for how they need to be used, and the ability to make walls almost completely out of lass known as curtain walls.

Carbon fiber is the latest material to surface, not yet used for building, it is extremely light, and very strong. Architects are now conceptualizing how they might be able to use this material in the future. Carbon fiber has the potential to revolutionize the building world. Many building now days are trying to reach a harmony with nature in both design and energy efficiency. Buildings like Guggenheim Museum Bilbao(200) are putting in to practice the ever changing face of nature in the design of the buildings.

Green uildings are springing up everywhere either new construction or renovating existing buildings to make them energy efficient and revolutionary at the same time. They evolution of building materials and design allow for architects of today the opportunity to implement beauty in their designs. The ability to incorporate any material from stone steel and glass concrete and wood into a building has resulted in some of the worlds most beautiful and elegant structures dating back to completely stone building, to todays hi rise structures, architecture is a beautiful thing.

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