Looking at Buildings

, printed from the Looking at Buildings website on Sunday 3rd July 2022

Materials and their Use

Stone [1], timber [2], earth and clay [3] all provided the basic materials suitable either for construction or to create secondary building materials, such as bricks and tiles [4].

Although major buildings might justify the importation of building materials, e.g. stone, most buildings continued to maintain a regional distinction until the end of the 18th century. But changes in national fashion and taste and improvements in transport soon reduced these distinctive local and regional characteristics.

Later, the development of man-made and industrial materials introduced the uniform appearances of iron [5], steel [6], glass [7], concrete [8] and plastics [9] but buildings of all periods may combine different materials to add ever greater variety. The pages in this sectionGlossary Term [10] provide a guide to each of the principal building materials with information on their history, manufacture and use illustrated with specific examples.

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Last updated: Saturday, 25th April 2009