The Development and Evolution of Masonry

The origin of the idea of building a wooden frame building comes from builders during the age of the Roman Empire. To build a wooden structure it was natural for builders to use the skilled and scientific skill of a mason.

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A mason is someone who is involved with building and working on buildings such as bridges and towers. As the use of wood became more prevalent in the construction of buildings, there was another option, that is, to build a masonry building. Unlike a wooden building, the masonry had to be built of mortared bricks. This was as cost effective as constructing a wooden frame building. The masonry structure offered many benefits. The masonry had great stability, good ventilation, and the walls had greater strength to withstand large loads. The masonry walls had more functional space than a wooden building with much less maintenance and no wood to rot.

With the onset of the industrial era and the development of steel manufacturing technology, brick buildings went out of fashion. With the development of steel making technology, brick buildings got cheaper and cheaper, making masonry buildings unviable and uneconomic. Thus, the need for the masonry building was dropped. The only advantages of building a masonry structure still being the cost savings and the benefits of a great deal of stability and strength. In this construction material advancement, what stayed majorly constant was construction equipment, for instance, forklift, single man lift, bulldozer, skid steer loader, ladder platform for stairs, excavator, hopper, mobile platform, crossover ladder, etc. While previously most of these tools and equipment were manually operated, now they can be used with less manpower due to technological upgrades. The transformation from wooden and masonry construction to steel and glass building has been a huge leap, which has resulted in the betterment of architecture and structural designs, as well as in job opportunities, industrial advancement, and lifestyle.

Tower Construction

This idea has been revived recently with the revival of the towers such as the London Eye and the Tower of London. Tower construction like many other wooden structures used metal based concrete and steel based materials to construct the structure. Like many other wooden structures the towers fell down with the weight of heavy loads and structural weaknesses. Like wooden buildings, the failure of a tower building is also due to the design flaws such as weak foundations and weak roof structure. Once the design of a tower structure such as the one in Paris was adapted to accommodate steel structural frames with metal insulated insulated concrete (MIC) tubes, a steel tower structure proved to be much stronger than a wooden tower structure. The main advantage of steel over wooden constructions is the decrease in cost. The costs of steel constructions have decreased dramatically over the last century. A tower of steel will cost far less than a tower constructed with wooden construction. There is only one major drawback of building a steel structure. Since steel will be heavier than a wooden structure there is still a need for a great deal of structural steel reinforcing such as thick concrete walls to hold up the weight of the steel structure.

Plastic Masonry

One way to get around this is to build the structure of the building in a way where the steel frame is glued to the concrete or plastic masonry structure. The rigid plastic masonry would be moulded in such a way that it is covered with concrete or plastic. The concrete or plastic would be sandwiched between the plastic to form a firm bond and hold the entire structure together. This construction is still in its nascent stages but has been successfully tested.

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