Walls Still Growing Up: A Brief History of Building Technology

May 30, 2006
Publication: Architecture Week
Author(s): Sean Obrien

Abstract: Thousands of years ago, a primitive mortar helped transform a pile of stones into an enclosure of habitable space. Since then, a complex interweaving of technical and social change has continually redefined the way we build, culminating in the modern practice of architecture and building design. The evolution of solid masonry construction was based on experience more than rational design. Designers learned from their mistakes and improved their buildings accordingly. While rudimentary by modern standards, this trial-and-error process provided designers over time with an accumulating wealth of guidelines that could be used to construct safe and durable buildings.