People have constructed buildings and other structures since prehistory,including bridges, theatres, dams, roads and canals, etc.Building materials in past have a long history and some of the structuresbuilt thousands of years ago can still be regarded as remarkable.The history of construction overlaps that of structural engineering.To know the buildings age we need to study archaeology.
The first buildings were simple huts, tents and shelters meant to suit thebasic needs of protection.
The absence of metal tools placed limitations on the materials that couldbe worked, but it was still possible to build quite elaborate stone structureswith ingenuity using dry-stone-walling techniques.The first mud bricks, formed with the hands rather than wooden moulds,belong to the late Neolithic period and were found in Jericho.
One of the largest structures of this period was the Neolithic long house
Construction in ancientMesopotamiaThe earliest large-scale buildings for whichevidence survives have been found inancient Mesopotamia.Major technical achievement is evidenced bythe construction of great cities suchas Uruk and Ur.The Ziggurat of Ur is an outstanding building of the period, despite majorreconstruction work.Another fine example is the ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil in modern Iran.ZIGGURT OF UR
The chief building material was the mud brick, formed in wooden moulds.Bricks varied widely in size and format from small bricks that could belifted in one hand to ones as big as large paving slabs.Drawings survive on clay tablets from later periods showing that buildingswere set out on brick modules.
The later Mesopotamian civilizations, particularly Babylon and thence Susa,developed glazed brickwork to a very high degree.They used to decorate the interiors and exteriors of their buildings withglazed bricks.the archaeological site in 1932, before major reconstruction work undertaken by Sadam Hussein
CONSTRUCTION IN ANCIENT EGYPTThey opposed the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia which built in brick.Egyptians constructed the huge structures in stone.
Adobe (sun-baked mud brick) construction was used for ancillary buildingsand normal houses in ancient times and is still commonly used in rural Egypt.The hot, dry climate was ideal for mud-brick, which tends to wash away inthe rain.The Ramesseum in Thebes, Egypt provides one of the finest examplesof mud brick construction.The grandest buildings were constructed in stone, often from massivemasonry blocks.
Although the Egyptians achieved extraordinary feats of engineering, theyappear to have done so with relatively primitive technology.As far as is known they did not use wheels or pulleys to transport thehuge stones.They transported massive stones over great distances using rollers,ropes and sledges hauled by large numbers of slaves.
The largest is the Great Pyramid of Giza which remained the tallest structurein the world for 3800 yearsMenkaures Pyramid, Giza
The ancient Greeks, like the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians, tended tobuild most of their common buildings out of mud brick, leaving no recordbehind them.However very many structures do survive, some of which are in a very goodstate of repair, although some have been partly reconstructed orre-erected in the modern era.The most dramatic are the Greek Temples.Greektemple
Building structures used a simple beam and column system without vaults orarches, which based strict limits on the spans that could achieved.Greek mathematics was technically advanced and we know for certain thatthey employed and understood the principles of pulleys, which would haveenabled them to build cranes to lift heavy stonework to the upper parts ofbuildings.The ancient Greeks never developed the strong mortars which became animportant feature of Roman construction.
In striking contrast to previous cultures, an enormous amount is known aboutRoman building construction.The great Roman breakthrough was the development of hydraulic lime mortar.They used brick or stone to build the outer skins of the wall and then filledthe cavity with massive amounts of concrete.They not only used it for walls but also to form arches, barrel vaults and domesThe Romans developed systems of hollow pots for making their domes andsophisticated heating and ventilation systems for their thermal baths.Glass was commonly used in windows.
Houses of the Vedic period were made of wood with bamboo rigging.Roofs were thatched and walls were made of reed bundles in woodenframework.Palace and temple construction brought new challenges for the ancientIndian builders.
An important piece of architecture during the Buddhist kings reigon was thestupa.It was moulded as large as 120 feet in diameter with a central chambercontaining relics.The inner part of the structure made of unbaked bricks while the outer wasmade of baked bricks. The outer layer was plaster.
Gupta temples were also made of blocks of stone.No mortar was used in their design; in some places,iron pegs fixed in sockets in the adjacent faces of stoneblocks held them together.These structures could reach heights of 200 feet, and often sported a heavymonolithic sculpture at their peak.
The seventeenth century saw the birth of modern science which would haveprofound effects on building construction in the centuries to come.CONSTRUCTION IN SEVENTEENTH CENTURYThe major breakthroughs were towards the end of the century when architect-engineers began to use experimental science to inform the form of theirbuildings.
The major breakthrough in this period was in themanufacture of glass, with the first cast plate glassbeing developed in France.Most buildings had stone ashlar surfaces coveringrubble cores, held together with lime mortar.Experiments were made mixing lime with othermaterials to provide a hydraulic mortar
CONSTRUCTION IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURYThe eighteenth century saw the development of many the ideas that hadbeen born in the late seventeenth century.The architects and engineers became increasingly professionalized.At the same time the birth of the industrial revolution saw an increase in thesize of cities and increase in the pace and quantity of construction.
The major breakthroughs in this period was the use of iron.In the second half of the eighteenth century the decreasing costs of iron,production allowed the construction of major pieces of iron engineering.The Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale (1779) is a particularly notable example.Brick production increased during this period. Many buildings throughoutEurope were built of brick.
CONSTRUCTION IN NINETEENTH CENTURYThis century is also called as ‘INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AGE’The industrial revolution was manifested in new kinds of transportationinstallations, such as railways, canals and roads.These required large amounts of investment.New construction devices included steam engines, machine tools, explosivesand optical surveying.As steel was mass-produced from the mid-19thcentury, it was used, in form of beams andreinforced concrete.
With the Second Industrial Revolution in the early 20th century, elevators andcranes made high rise buildings and skyscrapers possible, whileHeavy equipments and power tools decreased the workforce needed.Other new technologies were computer-aided design.Trade unions were formed to protect construction workers interests.Personal protective equipment such as hard hats and earmuffs also cameinto use.In the end of the 20th century, ecology,energy conservation and sustainable developmenthave become more important issues of construction.