Building Types through Time

Last Updated: 07 Dec 2022
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Since the evolution of mankind, he has been in the struggle of creating and molding the world and its raw resources according to his dire needs and comfort. When Adam and Eve were sent down to an absolute barren world they had all the resources unrestricted, and in an unlimited amount, but what they didn’t have then was knowledge of exploiting them or even the crave of attaining comfort of unimaginable means. They lived in small stone caves, supported with branches of trees and nature, sheltering themselves just like their peer animals.

Man since the very beginning has been the same animal, however the way his surroundings changed and his abilities evolved, he gained the potential of achieving the maximum efficiency and production from his living designs and that is the concept of derived modernism in man’s life today. What identifies man from other animals of his race is his ability to think, to create and then design it according to his own needs.

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And his ability to find and form a shelter for him self and his family, has been his habit since prehistoric times; while the economy and technology have been changing throughout his life, so have been the forms of his construction and way of living. The word architecture can be taken in a very broad manner; from the residential houses, bungalows, flats and apartments, to commercial plazas, offices, shops and industrial structures.

While over the time, with the malting of candle of time the architectural form which has witnessed the greatest change due to societal, demographical, economical, political and technological changes is that of residential buildings and its architecture. Stone Age Constructions Taking a look back into the history of mankind, we see that during the Stone Age’s man started off his life in animal like caves, and under canopies of trees, which could provide them shelter from the changing seasons and protection from the wild animals around.

He did not possess the knowledge or the tools to formulate anything more comfortable for himself and did not even have the potential of doing so. The human living status however soon shifted to tents and huts, to meet greater needs of self sufficiency. With the growth of man’s needs and the population size, with the formation of ruling bodies, came the establishment of urban centers. This change in establishment was brought forth by simple use of wood and metal in construction techniques; along with the use of nails, levers and pulleys.

Medieval Construction With the 1500 century, residential architecture found a new era of development and progress with the rising of cathedrals, castles, and fortifications; the biggest man made structures even to this time, with their grandeur and magnificent craftsmanship. These huge structures were mainly built for the war purposes, in case of an attack from the enemies, these residences were also used as battlefields.

Large forts were built in which entire cities lived so that if any threat to sovereignty occurred the mighty gates were closed, securing the entire population guarded by huge strong walls which surrounded them around. Theses powerful structures, had crosses erected across the glass windows, which represented ready made aims for crossbows, while strong arches and pillars were hiding places for the archers during war times. Thus the residences of the medieval times basically facilitated the warriors and served a stronger protection purpose from the enemies.

However, as the world moved towards a greater peaceful living, one of the greatest elements of change that was brought during this period was the discovery of bricks, which greatly eased the production techniques making it less time consuming and gave a greater liberty to the designers. Thus houses shifted from less of being battle fields and more towards homely structures. Renaissance architecture As the world was shifting from living lives less of that of warriors, and had the aesthetic sense slowly inhabiting their culture and tradition, the social lives of the people were on the verge of seeing a major change.

Art was slowly becoming a modern part of their lives, which first started the sense of creating the elite and sophisticated class of aristocrats who greatly indulged in the exhibition of this abstract sense. This cultural rebirth was brought by the philosophical and scientific works which were gaining great popularity. The architecture of this period thus presented the aim of joining spaces to human lives, by which the theories of geometry were relate to light and how it varied with different materials, bringing the idea of ‘perspective viewing’ for the first time.

Thus first architectural plans came into being, where designs were laid out first before they were rectified, and the idea plunged from France, to Italy, England and took over the rest of the world. Thus the new perspectives were further refined by the coming of the Baroque Architecture in the 17th Century, which redefined Renaissance with the agility of sculptures and theatrical fashion clean sweeping the olden ideas established by the staunch Church laws, which represented the religious shift of people from pure Catholicism to Protestants.

It thus gained is freedom through fortifying grand palaces in Paris, London and then the rest of the world, the period giving birth to the world’s greatest architects such as Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. Industrial Revolution and the rise of Modern Techniques The Industrial Revolution, a period which elongated from the late 18th to the early 19th Century, was an era which brought major structural changes in agriculture, manufacturing and transportation; greatly influencing the socioeconomic and cultural status of people in the North America and Britain, which later slowly took over the entire world.

This was an era, in which machinery was gradually taking over manual and animal drift labor, whereby impossible acts seemed to be coming to reality, with massive production, less time consumption, greater efficiency, lower costs as well as magnified distribution facilities. This revolution influenced the normal life style of almost every individual, who became a part of the new machine world. The turning point was brought by the easier transportation techniques, reinforced with the development of steam engines, giving life to trains, canals and road; and also the usage of metal and steel at higher levels for stronger and machinery.

This metal was being used for the development of I-Beams and reinforced concrete; glass panels were being excessively installed, with more intricate wooden work now being made possible with precise machinery, able to work on minute details. Also with the launch of plumbing techniques, access to drinking water became easier, and thus houses could now even be built further away from a water source. However the Industrial Revolution, also gave rise to the new riches and poor who had been forced out of the income stream.

It divided the community into two halves, the capitalist’s class who were the rich factory owners and industrialists living in enormous castles and gardens to meddle in, while the poor labor class hardly survived in small houses clustered in abundance across a street, which shared sanitation facilities. Epidemics of disease plagued these claustrophobic areas, where there were almost no plumbing facilities, no food supplies and large families living in houses of one or two rooms, with no government rules to intervene with the inhumane conditions.

Victorian Architecture The Victorian era, which predominantly attained its name; through the rule of Queen Victoria (from 1837 to 1901); is most importantly remembered for the grace and elegance that it brought in the architectural sense of that time period. The newly established Industrial Revolution, which had made machine made products now cheaper and easier to use by the majority of the people, saw the development of complex houses, different from their regular box like forms.

The architects ad constructors found themselves exploding with ideas and notions which were diverse and freed themselves from the traditional forms, and allowed them to play with bolder colors, elaborate and prudent exterior fixtures. With the growth of trade, and growing influx of people to and forth different parts of the world; brought in more creative ideas. The most famous of the Victorian houses were the Gothic styles, or commonly known as the gingerbread homes; due to their strong color and intricate structures, derived their inspiration from Western Europe.

As the era became more engrossed in maintaining grander, the Italianate style came in formation with huge arches and pediments influenced from the Roman Architecture were camouflaged into everyday houses, with porches elaborated with a centered square. As urbanized architecture was on the rise, mass and cheaper productions of materials were required, which it initiated the development of wooden shingles rather than the thick wooden use; thus for the first time the working class could erect their own homes, giving birth to the English traditional cottage style and American homestead, popularly known today as the Folk Victorian architecture.

While the richer class dwelled in more expensive sort of ‘Queen Anne homes,’ with unequal floor plans, numerous arched windows, grand porches, elaborate, fancy gardens all fountain set and decorative windows and doors. While the American architecture of mansions consisted of large stone buildings, topped with giant chimneys, large windows and decorated with massive sculptures around the house. Moreover, the Industrial Revolution provided the cheap availability of brass and steel hardware utilized throughout these houses.

History states that every great revolution or civilization meets it end in catastrophe, and so did the Victorian Era, whose closure was marked by the First World War in 1914. Whereas on the other hand, modernization and rise in incomes which was brought by the Industrial revolution, was further engulfed by the Great Depression, which plagued the economic status of the people. This p of downtrodden economies spun from 1929, and ended in the late 1930s to 1940. Modern Architectural Designs

The end of the Second World War, brought with it an era of International living, with ever increased communication levels around the global, emerging creativity, sophisticated tools and designs which were impossible before now were standing in the broad daylight exhibiting the evolution of man’s mind to greatness. With the emergence of developing countries, new and intricate ideas were on the rise. Where structures stood on abstract lines, giving the architects a wide field to play with geometrical figures and culminate them into an extraordinary structure, each standing a loaf from the other in every aspect.

In the 1930’s came the idea of Art Deco, which exploited the use of various other materials such as nickel, chrome, stainless steel and aluminum. These substances proved to be more efficient and cheaper to use. However, to accommodate the war trodden refugees houses which were more simple and quicker to produce were introduced, making elaborate use of glass, flat roofs and simple interior. While most of these houses were duplicates of each other lacking individuality, but enough to meet up with daily needs; whereas an attached garage was a new feature.

The second Industrial Revolution, in the early 20th century, with the aid of computer generation, and even efficient poor tools and machinery, led to the establishment of elevators and escalators, to approach the high rise buildings, later turning into skyscrapers, and it attained its maximum with the building of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1977, which however faced its tragedy in 2001 due to the rising political calamity through the world.

The modern architecture is a blend of boldness, affordability, abstract designs and comfort; which all look towards the gleaming future of innovation. However, an aspect which cannot be avoided in these residences is their connection still staying strong with the traditional lines and patterns of their ancestors, which gives it a stronger and more sustainable area of growth, developing its roots for a longer time of existence.

Nevertheless, the social status of the modern homes is evolving towards smaller families usually comprising of four members, thus such families also prefer living in a relatively smaller house, which is cost effective and could be easily be maintained by the mediocre earning of both the parents. Today with the growing urbanization and over utilization of resources, most of the residential architecture of the modern times is moving towards energy conservation and more of a sustainable development, which is easy to maintain and is less heavy upon the incomes of individuals.

The residences of the future will be less of consumer friendly but more catering towards the needs of the environment. Throughout the world resources have been exploited to their maximum, with the increasing green houses effect, global warming, curtailing energy resources, and growing population levels there is a need of the creation of “Green Building,” which focuses upon conservation of energy, materials and water, which would have least externalities upon human health and the environment.

Thus architecture is a living source, which evolves with time, perspective and society, taking over the shape and style which best meets its needs of the present as well for the generations to follow. References Dixon, Roger and Muthesius, Stephan. (1978) Victorian architecture. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-18163-2 Ching,F. , Jarzombek, M. , & Prakash, V. (2006). A Global History of Architecture. John Wiley and Sons Inc. Hopkins, R. (2002). A Natural Way of Building. Transition Culture.

Retrieved on April 26, 2009 from http://transitionculture. org/essential-info/articles/a-natural-way-of-building-2002/ Pater, P. (1976). Renaissance Rome. University of California Press The Architectural Timeline: Victorian. Retrieved on April 26, 2009 from http://houseofantiquehardware. com/site/timeline/tl_victorian. html Theisson, A. The Evolution of American Residential Architecture. Retrieved on April 24, 2009 from http://www. helium. com/items/1366726-american-residential-architecture? page=2

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Building Types through Time. (2016, Jul 08). Retrieved from

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