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Unit_5 Architecture and Technique

The history of human architecture shows that these three are complementary. Building technology and building materials and the composition of buildings are all interdependent. From Gottfried Semper’s perspective, advances in building materials have led to advances in building technology. At the same time, advances in building technology can help us to discover and extract materials with better properties. In ancient times, man’s ability to work with natural materials was limited and the only materials available for building houses were wood and stone. In order to build shapes such as columns and arches, people had to spend long periods of time, bit by bit, manually beating the stone into the shape they needed. A large building would often take a generation to build and decades to complete.
Later, as people became more skilled at smelting minerals, we were able to use clay to make bricks. Compared to the large stone blocks of Roman times, bricks were single, regular and easy to transport. Later, we were able to use metals, which were so mechanically sound that when we had enough chemistry to produce steel of sufficient purity, we were able to use it for the skeleton of a building, thus increasing the size of what we could build by a factor of ten over the Renaissance. Just like the Empire State Building and the World Trade Centre in the USA.
By now, reinforced concrete is the best all-round material: concrete for pressure, steel for tension. Each in its own way, and what a great partnership it is!
Today, the equipment we need to build a house is becoming easier and easier with the maturity of prefabricated component technology and 3D printing. At the same time, a 3D printed concrete house reduces many of the steps from design to start of construction and also gives more versatility and imagination to the shape of the building.