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Stone is by far one of the most durable materials, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s used to a large extent in architectural projects. Since the beginning of time, professionals have been using stone as a building material because it presents many advantages. Not only can it resist various deterioration factors, but also it enables a simpler construction. No matter your background, you can easily make the transition to working with stone. 

Image source: Pexels.com 

Unfortunately, the ability to design with stone is kind of a forgotten art. The desire to learn has disappeared. The practitioners involved in the construction of buildings prefer to resort to alternatives such as concrete or recycled plastic. Stone buildings were the norm in the 18th century. If you’re curious to find out more about the history of stone construction, please continue reading. 

The Dynamics of Architectural Design in The Eighteenth Century 

During the Enlightenment, modern classicism was considered the only true style. This particular movement in architecture focused on illusion and applied ornaments. People wanted and demanded simplicity, being fed up with the Rococo style. The combination of newly found wealth and flourishing commerce allowed individuals to give life to imposing architecture, which was often built using local stone. What neoclassical architecture tried to do was to take a step back. Building facades were usually flat. The exterior, as well as the interior, were built to represent classical perfection. 

Case in point: The London Stone 

Let’s talk about England for a little bit. In the eighteenth century, the Whigs came to power with the accession of George I. A new style was developed for the new age, not to mention the new ruling class. Georgian architects soon understood that the rules prevented them from creating masterpieces. They created austere neoclassical masterpieces that are just as impressive today as they were then. The London Stone is the only one worth mentioning. Writers of the eighteenth century speculated that the monument was prehistoric and had been used in the course of Druidic rituals. 

The building stones of the capital city takes us on a long journey in time, but there is no way of knowing if the Druids actually used it as an altar. During the Enlightenment, the stone altar blocked the road, so it had to be moved. St Swithin’s Church was considered to be the perfect place for relocating the monolith. If you think about it, it’s amazing that the London Stone survived. People made great efforts to look after the monument. The result is that, now, everyone can check out the mysterious stone. 

Geological influences on how the stone was used 

Walls and dwellings were constructed with the help of field-stones and boulders, which are the products of glaciation. As the ice started to melt, it left behind deposits of material such as slate, granite, gneiss bedrock, and so forth. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that the vast majority of stone constructions from melt-out till. They were indeed large, but surprisingly easy to carry. Field clearance, which took place throughout the eighteenth century, offered a pretty good source of boulders that were mainly deployed for building drains, enclosures, etc. 

How did people even lift the stones? Well, it was necessary to have a counterweight. If the counterweight was heavy enough, gravity pulled it down and the boulder went up. Today, you wouldn’t have to go through all that trouble. If you have a spider crane, it’s simple. Spider cranes lift heavy items such as stone, so they come in handy as far as difficult construction projects are concerned. All in all, the stone has come to represent something important about the architecture that came about during the Enlightenment period. Masons were the only capable of handling this particular material

As mentioned earlier, stone constructions feature building material that comes from Mother Earth. The stone wasn’t made in a fabric. In the eighteenth century, the stone began to be commercialized. Owing to the development of the rail system, the stone could be sent to various places. Quarries, which contributed to the local area, developed to the point where they could afford to take advantage of the new transport system. Britain, in particular, has a substantial stone resource. The most commonplace sedimentary rocks are: 

Sandstone 

Undoubtedly the most durable sedimentary building stone, it can even withstand the effects of modern pollution. British production remained localized until the nineteenth century, each county doing its best to meet its needs. The main advantage of sandstone is the fact that you can divide it along its sedimentary planes using basic tools. It may not be the most versatile construction material, but it can be used for paving and flooring.  

Limestone  

In the old days, limestone was the number one choice for construction purposes. The most famous buildings in the United Kingdom, like the Houses of Parliament or St Paul’s Cathedral, are made from limestone. During the Enlightenment, the galleries of the Houses of Parliament were expanded to make room for the new MPs. Limestone was chosen because it was more affordable and it enabled elaborate carvings. 

A Little Bit About Stone Architecture in Scotia 

It’s not possible to talk about building with natural stone without mentioning Scotland. In the past years, new constructions have seen the light of day and, as you can imagine, they feature different types of stones. Cultural institutions, railway stations, hotels, and even banks were built with stone coming from the immediate vicinity. Let’s go back in time for a little bit. The elegant New Town, which was cut by masons in the eighteenth century, is built entirely from stone. Actually, it’s commonly referred to as the City of Stone, possessing some of the most awe-inspiring sandstone-constructed buildings in the world. 

The architecture of Scotland shows how to make use of all the opportunities offered by stone. If you still doubt that stone is one of the most invaluable materials for architectural projects, you should pay a visit to the land of the brave and see for yourself the miracles that stone works. You’ll get to see the wonder of masonry, which is no little thing.