History of Building Materials

A Timeline study about building materials, this study was presented in Lighthouse center of design in Glasgow – Scotland. The study was a part of architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition who designed the Lighthouse center.

History of building materials
History of building materials, by Z. Alrayyes 2011

History of Building Materials

Ages before, vernacular architecture in all around the world depended on building materials from earth and surrounding areas. For instance In Palestine using limestone and clay bricks, In London using bricks and Portland stones. Also In northern countries using pine wood to build ,In north pole using ice as building materials. Throughout another climate like Arab gulf woven animal hair to build tents, In Algeria they were digging and carving underground houses. Hassan Fathi the Egyptian architect who have the concepts to create buildings from what earth have, ending up with a great architecture appearance and concepts. Architecture in each area of the world had it own character, building materials was one of the affecting factors beside ideology and climate …etc.

Architecture from Geology

In architecture and civil engineering building materials classify according to tension and compression strengths. If tension strength is higher than compression strength it called strength materials and visa versa. Bamboo and steel are tension materials where it resists high tension forces while it bends at a little compression forces. On the other hand, stones and bricks are compression materials, also a little tension force can ruin the material structure. These specifications of materials require certain rules to resist forces, in order to create architecture. These rules call engineering, building codes contain formulas, rules and methods of construction of different materials. When forming and engineering  materials to buildings, it will give a different result at each area, climate and users social behaviors. These differences in architecture have a special beauty, where people travel the world to see different architecture and culture.

Building Materials in Modern Architecture

After the industrial revolution and appearance of engines and shipping ships. Building materials can easily transport from one country to another. Nowadays markets are full of imported building materials. People in the Middle-East use the same materials people use in Switzerland. This means that architecture in China is similar to Middle Africa and Russia for instance. Wondering how people after several decades will look at our architecture.

FAQs

Does the development of building material effect the structural system?

Yes, most of historical building materials like clay, stone are compression materials. This means it could resist compression forces, also some materials like stone may resist tension forces. Compression materials could resist tension forces in smaller amount than compression forces, this why its called compression materials. Compression building materials allow building using bearing walls structural system, where it can’t build straight roofing. Bearing wall depend on walls, arches, vaults and domes to transmit loads forming a space. Aya Sophia is a good example of bearing wall structural system. On the other hand, the development of building materials like concrete with reinforcement steel bar – tension material – we can build straight roof, multi-story buildings and a larger spans. Tension building material suite the skeleton structural system that most of the world building using it.