Parasite landscape stone

Parasite landscape stone

Parasite landscape stone use

Parasite landscape stone use is the use of stone (often limestones) in modern construction in the United Kingdom. While the technology itself is over 250 years old, the use of stones, particularly limestones, in new building became widespread during the 19th century, particularly after the introduction of the Conwy Castle in 1815 and the Woburn Abbey in 1824. The Conwy Castle was the first project in the United Kingdom to use stone as the dominant building material, and was considered a technological marvel.

18th century: first reports

The earliest known occurrence of the word “stone” in relation to a building is in 1762, and was not for a building constructed using stone, but instead was for a building that did not need a foundation. In 1763, the first published report of a stone building was for an aqueduct on the Westminster Bank designed by architect Robert Adam. Adam, also a major promoter of stones buildings in the UK, published his method for building stone structures in 1764, while his other publications about building stone structures are in 1770 and 1771.

In 1779, architect James Stuart (1738–1787) (in the Dictionary of National Biography) described a form of building stone in relation to Conwy Castle (above), an extension of the St. John's Hall in the United States. Stuart also published the first book to describe a building stone in detail: Remarks on a Paper Entitled The Institution of Engineers, FOUNDED UPON TASTE, and as OBSERVED in the Construction of Conwy Castle in 1777 (1783).

In 1785, architect Joshua White published his monumental book on English architecture, An Analysis of the Architecture of the Parthenon, which included a section on rock-faced stone buildings in buildings such as English cathedrals.

19th century: 50 year construction boom

The first truly extensive use of stone as a building material was in the Conwy Castle (above), which was constructed entirely with stones, and it also showed how a large building can be constructed using the technology of its time. The Conwy Castle was built in 1815, with many other stone buildings following shortly thereafter. The use of stone was already known in most regions of England (including Yorkshire and Sussex), but a real boom in use began in the mid-19th century, and particularly in Wales and the North of England, particularly around the Lakes and in Northumberland and North Yorkshire.

The end of the century saw the beginning of the end for the boom in the UK. In 1874, Benjamin Mountfort, writing about construction materials for Construction &, Building News, declared that “Although for several years now the quarrying of stone has been carried on with great prosperity, as in Yorkshire and the West Riding of the present century in every part of the country, and wherever stone or brick are required in abundance, yet it is only for the more elaborate and costly structures, or for public buildings requiring a perfect finish, that the stone so employed is selected, and it is only in a few instances that this method has been employed in private residences” (p. ,92).

In the UK today, most stones buildings have replaced cobbled streets, erected mostly between the 1860s and 1920s. While the use of stones in the UK has been renewed by the Stone House (above), the popularity of houses (rather than castles) built using stones is currently higher than it has been for most of the last 200 years.

The “concrete era”: emergence of poured-in-place technology

The use of stones in buildings gradually replaced the use of bricks and bricks masonry. While the reasons for this change are still debated, the fact is that stones can be easily made into the desired shape of the walls, compared to the masons' squares and bricks, which have to be cut in order to build walls, but also have the tendency to splinter and crack.

While London was the first major construction centre using blocks and walls, the greatest change to the shape of stone buildings in the UK was the introduction of pouring the stone into the form required. While many churches, towers, and other buildings have been built in stones for centuries, the new technology of poured-in-place construction enabled the final form of the stone to be determined, and also allowed parts of buildings to be produced in huge volumes.

This technology was used for the first time in 1784, in Woburn Abbey (below), while the first public buildings using this technology were the Royal Exchange, London (below) in 1867 and the Victoria Memorial, London in 1869. In 1875, the first steel-framed building was completed, the future Edgbaston house in Birmingham (which was not built in stone), but stones continued to be used for the wall foundations.

An interesting comparison of this technology in the early 19th century and later in the 20th century is between the heavy timbered works of Philip Webb in 1824 (below) and the light steel and concrete structures of Bertel Thorvaldsen in 1886 (below).

The Victorian Era: Exhibition buildings, etc.

During the Victorian era, a large number of large exhibition buildings were constructed using stones, many of which survive today. Examples include:

1851 Crystal Palace (London): long stone wall at the edge of the Serpentine.

1866 Great Exhibition (London): high walls (made of Tudor brick) with towers and grandiose gatehouse (made of limestone from Cumberland, and other stone). The whole structure is still in place.

1868 Kensington Gardens (London): high wall.

1872–1876 Milford Haven Docks: stone promenade

1872 Royal Albert Hall (London): stone arcade outside (with the original arches), and two great concrete archways (connected by a tunnel) and a brick wall within the concert hall.

1874 Royal Agricultural Society's Agricultural Hall (London): stone wall in the garden.

1876 The Crystal Palace Exhibition, London (1851–1876): square wall

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