Category Building and Construction

Which types of buildings are called Skyscrapers?

Skyscrapers are very tall buildings, usually more than 20 storeys high. Their weight is supported by a steel frame rather than outside walls. They are a feature of many large cities, especially in North America and East Asia, where the high price of land leads developers to build tall, thin buildings that occupy the minimum amount of land space, rather than low-rise, sprawling ones.

The first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was built in Chicago in 1884 following a fire that devastated the city. Soon, skyscrapers started to appear in New York as well as Chicago, often being built higher and higher in competition with one another. In recent years, Japan, Malaysia and China are among nations that have joined the race to build the world’s tallest buildings.

The John Hancock Center in Chicago, USA, was completed in 1968. A skyscraper with both offices and residential apartments; it is the tallest multi-purpose building in the world and the seventh tallest skyscraper of all. It is 344 metres high but its twin antennae add a further 105 metres, making it a total of nearly 450 metres. It has a hull and core construction—a strong central concrete core with an open space between it and the steel frame. The frame has a triangular grid to give the structure maximum strength.

The John Hancock Center is like a city in a tower. It has shops, a bank, a post office, a restaurant, a swimming pool and a fitness centre. There are 50 lifts (it takes only 39 seconds to ascend to the 94th floor). A car park with spaces for 1200 cars takes up the first seven floors. Cars drive up a spiral ramp to get to it.

The building has more than 2000 kilometres of electric wiring, carrying enough electricity to supply the equivalent of a city of 30,000 people. More than 2.75 million litres of water are consumed each day. Computers warn of any fault in the skyscraper’s service systems.

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What are various types of construction of Building around the world?

People have constructed buildings from ancient times as homes to provide shelter, monuments or places of worship. Earth, wood and stone have always been used as building materials. Bricks, hardened clay, were first used in the Middle East in about 3000 BC. Concrete is made by mixing sand, cement and water. Reinforced concrete dates from the late 1800s. Often used in modern buildings, it contains steel wires or rods to provide extra strength.

Buildings belong to one of two types. The first type has solid walls, called load-bearing walls that support the floors and roof of the building. The second type has a framework of wood, steel or concrete that bears the weight of the building.

Most buildings need foundations (a solid base) to prevent them from sinking into the ground or falling over. Foundations can be footings (underground walls), flat rafts, or underground supporting pillars called piles that are driven into the ground.


The Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt was the world’s tallest structure for nearly 4000 years, until the great age of cathedral building began in medieval Europe. Lincoln Cathedral in England, which was built in 1311, had a great spire that made it slightly taller than the pyramid, although it was blown down in a storm in 1549. The Washington Monument in Washington, USA, became the world’s tallest structure in 1884, before the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, almost doubled the record five years later. The skyscrapers of the 20th century claimed the honour until the CN Tower, still the world’s tallest self-supporting structure, was built in Toronto in 1976.

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Skyscrapers have a frame, usually made of steel or concrete, to support the floors and walls, which are attached to the frame. The frame is rather like the skeleton inside a human body. It is not designed to be completely rigid, but to sway a little in high winds, thus reducing the force of the wind upon the structure.

A skyscraper is a continuously habitable high-rise building that has over 40 floors and is taller than approximately 150 m (492 ft). Historically, the term first referred to buildings with 10 to 20 floors in the 1880s. The definition shifted with advancing construction technology during the 20th century. Skyscrapers may host offices, hotels, residential spaces, and retail spaces. For buildings above a height of 300 m (984 ft), the term supertall skyscrapers can be used, while skyscrapers reaching beyond 600 m (1,969 ft) are classified as megatall skyscraper.

One common feature of skyscrapers is having a steel framework that supports curtain walls. These curtain walls either bear on the framework below or are suspended from the framework above, rather than resting on load-bearing walls of conventional construction. Some early skyscrapers have a steel frame that enables the construction of load-bearing walls taller than of those made of reinforced concrete.

Modern skyscrapers’ walls are not load-bearing, and most skyscrapers are characterized by large surface areas of windows made possible by steel frames and curtain walls. However, skyscrapers can have curtain walls that mimic conventional walls with a small surface area of windows. Modern skyscrapers often have a tubular structure, and are designed to act like a hollow cylinder to resist wind, seismic, and other lateral loads. To appear more slender, allow less wind exposure and transmit more daylight to the ground, many skyscrapers have a design with setbacks, which in some cases is also structurally required.

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Concrete is a mixture of sand, water and cement, a powder made of lime and clay. Far from being a new material, concrete was used by the Romans in the first century AD to build the dome of the Pantheon in Rome.

Concrete is a friend of the environment in all stages of its life span, from raw material production to demolition, making it a natural choice for sustainable home construction. Here are some of the reasons why, according to the Portland Cement Association and the Environmental Council of Concrete Organizations:

Resource efficiency. The predominant raw material for the cement in concrete is limestone, the most abundant mineral on earth. Concrete can also be made with fly ash, slag cement, and silica fume, all waste byproducts from power plants, steel mills, and other manufacturing facilities.

Durability. Concrete builds durable, long-lasting structures that will not rust, rot, or burn. Life spans for concrete building products can be double or triple those of other common building materials.

Thermal mass. Homes built with concrete walls, foundations, and floors are highly energy efficient because they take advantage of concretes inherent thermal massor ability to absorb and retain heat. This means homeowners can significantly cut their heating and cooling bills and install smaller-capacity HVAC equipment.

Reflectivity. Concrete minimizes the effects that produce urban heat islands. Light-colored concrete pavements and roofs absorb less heat and reflect more solar radiation than dark-colored materials, such as asphalt, reducing air conditioning demands in the summer.

Ability to retain storm water. Paved surfaces tend to be impervious and can block natural water infiltration into the soil. This creates an imbalance in the natural ecosystem and leads to problems such as erosion, flash floods, water table depletion, and pollution. Pervious concrete is a special type of structural concrete with a sponge-like network of voids that water passes through readily. When used for driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and other pavements, pervious concrete can help to retain storm water runoff and replenish local water supplies.

Minimal waste. Concrete can be produced in the quantities needed for each project, reducing waste. After a concrete structure has served its original purpose, the concrete can be crushed and recycled into aggregate for use in new concrete pavements or as backfill or road base.

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An architect’s plans give all the information needed to build the structure shown. The plans show the materials to be used, how they fit together, and all the measurements necessary to complete the building. Plans usually show several elevations (different views) of the structure, including a floor plan and a plan of each side of the building. Nowadays, computers are increasingly used to draw up plans. They can provide lists of the materials and equipment needed as the plans are drawn, and work out costings.

Building plans are the set of drawings which consists of floor plan, site plan, cross sections, elevations, electrical, plumbing and landscape drawings for the ease of construction at site. Drawings are the medium of passing the views and concepts of an architect or designer into reality.

Site plan

Site plan is comprehensive detailed drawing of the building or an apartment representing whole plan of a building. It shows property boundaries and means of access to the site, and nearby structures if they are relevant to the design.

For a construction project, the site plan also needs to show all the services connections like drainage and sewer lines, water supply, electrical and communications cables, exterior lighting etc.

Its a first design that is made for any project before going into detailing process. Drawing up a site plan is a tool for deciding both the site layout and the size and orientation of proposed new buildings.

These drawings should comply with the local development codes, including restrictions on historical sites. It acts as a legal agreement for the permission of construction from the government body. For this, it is required that the site plan is made by a licensed professional like architect, engineer, landscape architect or land surveyor.

Floor Plan

A plan means, top view of any building or object. Floor plan is the most fundamental architectural diagram, a view from above showing the arrangement of spaces in building in the same way as a map, but showing the arrangement at a particular level of a building.

Floor plan view is defined as a vertical orthographic projection of an object on to a horizontal plane cutting through the building. This shows the walls, windows, door and other features such as stairs, fittings and even furniture too.

Cross Section

Geometrically, a cross section is a horizontal orthographic projection of a building on to a vertical plane cutting through the building. Cross section is vertical cut section of any building which shows the details of dimension, thickness of any component of a building. It also represents the sill height, lintel height, floor height and other minute details of a structure.

The section plane where the plan is vertically cut is represented in the 2d floor plan by a bold dotted straight line.


An elevation drawing is an orthographic projection drawing that shows one side of the house. The purpose of an elevation drawing is to show the finished appearance of a given side of the house and furnish vertical height dimensions. Majorly it is divided into 3 types.

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When prehistoric peoples began to farm, they built settlements. However, some peoples preferred to continue to move about in search of food, following a nomadic lifestyle. Nomads do not need settled homes, but they do need shelter from the weather, so many of them carry tents made of skins or woven fabric. Tents are light to carry and can be put up very quickly.

In the modern world, we live in sedentary, or non-mobile, societies. That’s what we’re used to. However, that lifestyle didn’t become widely available until the late Stone Age, a period called the Neolithic (literally meaning New Stone Age), as the Ice Age ended around 10,000 BCE. For the roughly 190,000 years of human existence prior to that, within the period called the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), all human societies were nomadic. This means that they did not have permanent addresses or build permanent structures. They traveled throughout the year, moving with their food supplies and available resources.

Nomadism seems like a pretty simple concept, but we’ve seen throughout history that there are actually a number of different ways to be nomadic. Some nomadic people seem to have relied heavily on large herds of animals like bison, following the herds wherever they roamed and hunting for survival. Others, including many around the Mediterranean Sea, seem to have moved around based, at least in part, on when various plant resources became available, traveling throughout the region as various natural fruits, seeds, and grains came into season.

Other societies of this time may have been only semi-nomadic, which means they maintained a semi-permanent residence for part of the year (generally one season or less). There seems to have been two factors which made this possible. For one, semi-nomadic groups had to have a place that could provide steady resources for an extended period of time. Perhaps the best example of this is a large river where fish migrate during a particular time of year. Tribes could camp by the river and harvest fish for weeks, preserving the meat so that it would last.

The second factor is harsh climatic conditions. It’s important to remember that Paleolithic people were living in the Ice Age. Winters were rough, and it seems likely that many of the cave dwellings we’ve found were occupied for weeks or months at a time. People used the caves for shelter during rough winter months, during which many herds of animals weren’t moving around too much, and waited until spring to start roaming again.

Nomadic people did not farm for food but acquired it as they traveled. We call this a hunter-gatherer economy, which is exactly what the name implies. They hunted for food and gathered other resources as they became available. Both of these required an interesting amount of balance. Nomadic people lived on the move and didn’t have permanent storage facilities (like attics or pantries). Because of this, they couldn’t simply gather all the food and resources they found. They could only gather that which they could carry.

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Although many traditional building styles are still in use, the appearance of buildings and the way in which they are built changes as outside influences are brought to bear on their architects and builders. Naturally, buildings are based on shapes that give the strongest structures: rectangles, cylinders, triangles and domes. In the search for new forms, architects have often looked back to the past. In the fourteenth century in Italy, for example, designers rediscovered the architecture of ancient Rome and neo-classical (“new” classical) buildings in the subsequent centuries were built all over the world, especially where a building was meant to embody power, learning and dignity. New buildings today still combine recent ideas with traditional motifs.

Modernism could be described as one of the most optimistic styles in architectural history, drawing from notions of utopia, innovation, and the reimagination of how humans would live, work, and interact. As we reflected in our AD Essentials Guide to Modernism, the philosophy of Modernism still dominates much of architectural discourse today, even if the world that gave rise to Modernism has changed utterly.

As we say goodbye to 2019, a year that saw the centenary of the Bauhaus, we have collated a list of key architectural styles that defined Modernism in architecture. This tool for understanding the development of 20th-century design is complete with examples of each style, showcasing the practice of Modernism that lay behind the theory.

The Modern Era is broadly defined in the United States as the period from 1930 through the 1970s. Buildings or sites of the period often looked to the future without overt references to historical precedent; expressed functional, technical or spatial properties; and was conscious of being modern, expressing the principles of modern design. The architecture produced during this period took on many forms and represented a range of complex ideology. The terms included here represent a means of categorizing these disparate resources based on design similarities, but are in no way intended to limit or fully define them.

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The Egyptians were building massive pyramids almost 5000 years ago. We are still not sure how they achieved this without the mechanical lifting and cutting equipment that we have today, but the answer must be that they used huge numbers of slaves to shape and haul the enormous stones with which they built. Recently, scientists have calculated that as many as 10,000 slaves were probably needed to work on these structures.

The first, and largest, pyramid at Giza was built by the pharoh Khufu (reign started around 2551 B.C.). His pyramid, which today stands 455 feet (138 meters) tall, is known as the “Great Pyramid” and was considered to be a wonder of the world by ancient writers.

The pyramid of Khafre (reign started around 2520 B.C.) was only slightly smaller than Khufu’s but stood on higher ground. Many scholars believe that the Sphinx monument, which lies near Khafre’s pyramid, was built by Khafre, and that the face of the Sphinx was modeled after him. The third pharaoh to build a pyramid at Giza was Menkaure (reign started around 2490 B.C.), who opted for a smaller pyramid that stood 215 feet (65 m) high.

Over the past two decades, researchers have made a number of discoveries related to the pyramids, including a town built near the pyramid of Menkaure, a study showing how water can make blocks easier to move and a papyrus found by the Red Sea. These have allowed researchers to gain a better understanding of how the Giza pyramids were built. The new finds add to older knowledge gained over the last two centuries.

The techniques used to build the Giza pyramids were developed over a period of centuries, with all of the problems and setbacks that any modern-day scientist or engineer would face.

Pyramids originated from simple rectangular “mastaba” tombs that were being constructed in Egypt over 5,000 years ago, according to finds made by archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie. A major advance occurred during the reign of the pharaoh Djoser (reign started around 2630 B.C). His mastaba tomb at Saqqara started off as a simple rectangular tomb before being developed into a six-layered atep pyramind with underground tunnels and chambers.

Another leap in pyramid-building techniques came during the reign of the pharaoh Snefru (reign started around 2575 B.C.) who built at least three pyramids. Rather than constructing step pyramids, Snefru’s architects developed methods to design smooth-faced, true pyramids.

It appears that Snefru’s architects ran into trouble. One of the pyramids he constructed at the site of Dahshur is known today as the “bent pyramid” because the angle of the pyramid changes partway up, giving the structure a bent appearance. Scholars generally regard the bent angle as being the result of a design flaw.

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For thousands of years, people have been building homes, temples and monuments, but until only a few centuries ago, they had no proper plans to follow before building began. They based their work on tried and tested methods, estimating how strongly walls had to be built to support the floors above and the roof. Of course, many buildings collapsed or subsided, but others are still standing to this day, a tribute to the skill of builders in times past.

The last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the great pyramids of Giza are perhaps the most famous and discussed structures in history. These massive monuments were unsurpassed in height for thousands of years after their construction and continue to amaze and enthrall us with their overwhelming mass and seemingly impossible perfection. Their exacting orientation and mind-boggling construction has elicited many theories about their origins, including unsupported suggestions that they had extra-terrestrial impetus. However, by examining the several hundred years prior to their emergence on the Giza plateau, it becomes clear that these incredible structures were the result of many experiments, some more successful than others, and represent an apogee in the development of the royal mortuary complex.

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The earliest human homes that we know of are caves. We know that they were inhabited because paintings have been found on the walls, but these homes were not built – they were made by nature, not human beings. The earliest mud and wooden shelters and huts have not survived intact, but from about 2700BC people began to build some of the huge stone structures that have survived to this day. Apart from the Egyptian pyramids, one of the earliest was the circle of stones known as Stonehenge, in England. It is not known exactly what this was for, but it probably had religious significance. Throughout history, religion has spurred builders to create many of the largest and most impressive buildings ever seen.

Stonehenge, on Salisbury plain in England, is one of the most recognizable monuments of the Neolithic world and one of the most popular, with over one million visitors a year. People come to see Stonehenge because it is so impossibly big and so impossibly old; some are searching for a connection with a prehistoric past; some come to witness the workings of a massive astronomical observatory. The people living in the fourth millennium BC who began work on Stonehenge were contemporary with the first dynasties of Ancient Egypt, and their efforts predate the building of the Pyramids. What they created has endured millennia and still intrigues us today.

In fact, what we see today is the result of at least three phases of construction, although there is still a lot of controversy among archaeologists about exactly how and when these phases occurred. It is generally agreed that the first phase of construction at Stonehenge occurred around 3100 BCE, when a great circular ditch about six feet deep was dug with a bank of dirt within it about 360 feet in diameter, with a large entrance to the northeast and a smaller one to the south. This circular ditch and bank together is called a henge.  Within the henge were dug 56 pits, each slightly more than three feet in diameter, called Aubrey holes, after John Aubrey, the 17th century English archaeologist who first found them. These holes, it is thought, were either originally filled with upright bluestones or upright wooden beams. If it was bluestones which filled the Aubrey holes, it involved quite a bit of effort as each weighed between 2 and 4 tons and were mined from the Preseli Hills, about 250 miles away in Wales.

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