How the Stucture of Skyscrapers Was Started Essay

How the Stucture of Skyscrapers Was Started Essay

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Supertall buildings are a relatively recent addition to the history of the cities around the world. Technology of the nineteenth century made their development possible. Steel, concrete and masonry materials have existed for a long time in the history of civilization but not in such a configuration. Masonry is the oldest material. Concrete in its present form is the youngest of these three basic structural materials of construction. Research shows that early societies used lime as a binding element in mortar. These included the Phoenicians and their colonies, Cyprus in Mycaenae, Minoan Crete, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Structures from as early as 1200 BC have been found with polished, lime-concrete floors and surfaces of hard, colored plaster. Even earlier during the Neolithic period, builders knew "burning of limestone, slaking the lime, mixing the mortar, spreading the concrete, and finishing the surface" [1]. Current frame of reference tends toward a comparison between the history of concrete and its use in tall buildings and that of the Roman's of primitive concrete buildings. In the early centuries as now, time, money and human ability were important factors in choosing building materials [2]. Skill was required for building formwork--skill that may have been difficult to identify within large groups of slave laborers. Projects involving elaborate arches and utilitarian structures were supplemented in their strength by bricks and left-in-place forms as they attempted to economize and conserve skilled labor [3]. With the decline of the Roman Empire, society lost the ability to mold the ingredients into cementitious materials. Only ruins exist as a testament to Roman ingenuity and the history of concrete. The use of co...

... middle of paper ... cold weather problems. These two innovations changed the exterior walls from ones that carried their own loads to ones that bore integrally with the rest of the system. This created an ability to use concrete as the framing with a curtain wall sealing the building from external forces [3]. Another innovation, which led the construction industry away from its traditional construction techniques of imitating steel and wood, was Robert Maillart's use of the floor slab instead of beams and girders to carry loads. These breakthroughs, along with concrete's ability to resist fire, carry heavy loads, and dampen noise, made it a good choice for factory and apartment buildings at the turn of the century. The difficulty for inventors was then to convince the public that its uses went beyond low-rise apartment buildings. Like steel, it could also soar toward the sky.

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