Is building with wood "inferior" than building with stone?

Dec 2015
370
NYC
Were earthquakes taken into consideration when deciding what to build, especially in places like Japan? It’s my understanding that wooden structures are more suitable for regions that are prone to have a lot of earthquakes.
There's also the argument I saw in another thread that in Turkey, there are earthquakes, but did not stop Roman and Greek ruins from being destroyed, which makes me wonder?
 
Dec 2015
370
NYC
In Early Medieval Europe there was some, but very little, stone construction. Builders may have used wood more often, but of course those wooden buildings haven't survived to the present. It's widely believed that Early Medieval builders had lost some of the skill and techniques of the Romans, but wood was preferred not for simplicity but for cost. One only invests the cost of stone construction if one wants the building to last. Many Early Medieval builders, especially the Church, were pessimistic about the future or perhaps expected an early second coming, so they saw no need for stone construction. Also, Early Medieval Europe was much poorer than Roman Europe. Builders could no longer afford stone so they used wood instead. I think this is where the idea in the OP comes from - that wood is simpler to work than stone. There were multiple factors occurring simultaneously - wood is cheaper, wood is less durable, and there was a loss of skill from previous times, but that doesn't mean that wood is simpler to work than stone.
Was stone "cheaper" during Roman times? As far as I know, stone was more abundant in the Roman world (especially Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Levant, all of whom had the terrain that provided the abundance of stone), and Rome had access to active volcanoes throughout the empire.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
36,323
T'Republic of Yorkshire
There's also the argument I saw in another thread that in Turkey, there are earthquakes, but did not stop Roman and Greek ruins from being destroyed, which makes me wonder?
Not to the extent that Japan has. However, Japan has cultural as well as practical reasons why wood was used.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
5,103
Dispargum
Was stone "cheaper" during Roman times? As far as I know, stone was more abundant in the Roman world (especially Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Levant, all of whom had the terrain that provided the abundance of stone), and Rome had access to active volcanoes throughout the empire.
Stone was more affordable in Roman times because the stability of the Roman state allowed more economic activity and more creation of wealth. With the fall of the Western Empire the economy collapsed, and most people who used to build with stone could no longer afford to do so.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,841
Netherlands
Stone was more affordable in Roman times because the stability of the Roman state allowed more economic activity and more creation of wealth. With the fall of the Western Empire the economy collapsed, and most people who used to build with stone could no longer afford to do so.
Nah, it is because the Romans used mortar. It is not easy to come by the ingredients when trade has come to a standstill. That is why in the east they happily continued with their building spree in Constantinople.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,783
Sydney
The whole Mediterranean area suffered early from deforestation , wood was precious , stone available and slave plentiful
 
Nov 2018
379
Denmark
Both churches are from around 1200.I don't know which building is superior.

The stone church from Denmark, which has required a trained and most likely foreign stonemason.
kirke 1.jpg

Or the wooden church from Norway, which is probably built by domestic carpenters.
Heddal_1.jpg
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,700
Australia
Were earthquakes taken into consideration when deciding what to build, especially in places like Japan? It’s my understanding that wooden structures are more suitable for regions that are prone to have a lot of earthquakes.
- 'Dogon' . Check out what happens to the bock walls ( stone, brick, mud brick, etc. ) compared to the wooden structure;