(13037873) BE1380 –  CityspaceEdit

Structural ElementsEdit

All structures are made up of smaller structural elements e.g.:

  • Columns
  • Beams
  • Slabs
  • Frame(s)
  • Arch(es)

Museum Column


Column: The column has been in use for over four and a half thousand years dating back to the Egyptians as a great structural element to use in large buildings because they are designed to resist compression on a building. A column is usually known to be made out of stone or concrete which are both very rigid and strong materials to use. To help against compression you can increase the floor area of the column on either axis. In my building there are some internal columns used but no external columns.


Beam bending under load

Beam: A beam is used in construction to uphold certain areas and when they come under pressure they have to resist deflection and bending, they resist this by stiffening the beam out. To increase the stiffening of a beam you just have to increase the depth. In my building you can see the beams in the ceiling at some parts but mostly you can't see any if they are being used.

Concrete slab

Concrete slab

Slab: Slabs are commonly used in the floor and ceiling construction and very good at resisting the loads forced upon them. These also need to resist bending and deflection; to decrease the likelihood of this you can reinforce it with steel or increase the depth once again. One of the main issues with concrete slabs is that they will drain the heat from a building however in most build today a layer of insulation is placed underneath the slab to stop the heat escaping. I don't know if this were used in my building but they probably were as they are used in most modern builds.


Diagram of a wooden frame

Frame: The frame of the building is very important and is combined with many elements; two of the main ones are the strut and the tie. The strut has to resist compressive loads from the top and the tie has to resist the tension from the sides leading from the top. I don't think that struts were used in my building because it has flat roofs but ties were probably used to help with the tension loads. I don't know what the full frame of my building is or if it has a full complete one but I could see it having a steel frame or just concrete walls all around the external space.

Wooden arch bridge construction

The wooden arch of a bridge

Arch: Mainly used before the 20th century in stone buildings but used all the time in bridges. They are used to span a wide space while supporting the weight above it, non-bridges. Bridges normally use the parabolic arch, which is where the tension is reduced because the curve- of the arch dissipates the load uniformly. This isn't used in my building at all.

Historical DevelopmentEdit

Load Bearing Mass: This is where the structure uses the heavy weight of its materials to resist the loads placed upon it. You can see in a lot of pre 20th century buildings all acroos the world because they only had a set amount of materials they could use for construction and only had certain grasps of stress to work out. The materials are normally comprised of brickwork, blockwork, stone and mass concrete (both in situ and pre cast). These are all good with compressive stress bet weak to tension, which is why you get the same shape building for thousands of years (because it worked with the materials).

Walls: Walls now-a-days are made from all types of

Pennsylvania Fieldstone Building

materials including steel, concrete, glass etc. However for thousands of years all architects had to use was stone and brick to build with or a wooden frame. The walls job is to pass the load down from the roof and any floors into the ground and/or foundations, all the materials they could use did work for all the time but now with advances in metal frames you can get a much more strong and rigid structure that can be cheaper and do the walls job easily.