Structural Design of Buildings
Structural Design of Buildings
The History of Buildings
The development of building knowledge
In order to understand the construction of buildings it is necessary to determine the age of the building and the technologies likely to be included in the construction and design of that period. For this reason, this first chapter briefly explains the construction and features of buildings over the years and this is further developed in chapter three where the construction is discussed in more detail.
Since the beginning of time man has been engaged in building structures and it is remarkable that many of the early structures still exist. The Neolithic period as early as 6500-10 200 BC saw the first structures being made which may have been simple huts and bridges but nevertheless commenced mankind's quest to construct buildings. Buildings continued to develop through the Mesopotamian, Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian periods, which ranged from 6000 BC until 146 BC , and some of these structures - such as the pyramids - are a lasting legacy to the ingenuity and understanding of building construction principles. Following this, the period of the Ancient Romans from around 753 BC until 476 AD saw large-scale buildings become more commonplace. As techniques and materials became better understood, more adventurous structures were constructed.
The Medieval period of the 12th century until the 18th century saw timber frame houses being constructed and some of the early timber frame houses of this era still exist, such as the Medieval Merchants House in Southampton, Hampshire. The development of these structures is intrinsically linked to the understanding of materials and the behaviour of structures which carpenters gained over these centuries.
Masons involved in the construction of churches would travel across the east and west, refining techniques and applying them to new and larger structures. One such example is the development of the arch from a circular arch to a gothic pointed arch, which improved its ability to carry loads, thus resulting in larger-scale and more impressive structures. This is evident in the late 16th century when large glass windows became fashionable in churches to provide light, which also had a significant theological meaning.
The understanding of flying buttresses to resist large lateral and horizontal loads meant that vaulted ceilings could be constructed which accommodated large spans. The first example in England was in Durham Cathedral, which was commenced in 1093. Other early examples include the apse of the Basilica of Saint-Remi in Reims dating from 1170.
Although some of the structural principals were understood, many were based on trial and error and then carried through as tried and tested means of developing structures.
Such scholars as Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote some of the earliest books on architecture, and his work De architectura (known as Ten Books of Architecture ) is the only surviving book from the classical period. This provided dimensions for columns based on the number and type of column used and the style of temple required. The height of the column was expressed as a multiple of the diameter. This work was not discovered until 1414 in a library in Switzerland, and interestingly there had been no other printed works prior to this time.
During the Renaissance period, in 1450, Leon Battista Alberti published De re aedificatoria , which translates as The Art of Building . This was one of the first printed books on architecture. Later, Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554) published Regole generali d'architettura , which translates as General Rules of Architecture . Then, in 1570, Adrea Palladio published I quattro libra dell'architettura , which translates as Four Books of Architecture . Th