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

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,397
Sydney
some Gothic cathedrals took centuries , usually because the funds were not forthcoming , many were not even completed
Notre-Dame doesn't have her spires , while Strasbourg only has one

there was a lot of dispute between the local church and the town authorities over who would pay for what
the Cathedral was a prestige thing and the church considered it was the town who had to pay

Reims cathedral has the statue of an angel drawing a bow in the direction of the Bishop palace , small gesture of the builders against the skinflint
 
Jan 2016
1,146
Victoria, Canada
On the subject of the Hagia Sophia, an important note is that it and many other Byzantine structures are actually built out of what's essentially a form of Roman concrete, adapted to suit Byzantine-period resources and needs, instead of the more traditional stone- and/or brick-work mostly under discussion here. The church and others like it employ bricks and stone as ordered aggregates for a larger quantity of pozzolanic (hydraulic) cement, which carries the majority of the load. This can be seen in these closeups of the Hagia Sophia's walls:





Compare this to, say, Tudor brickwork, in which the bricks themselves, stuck together with thin strips of (non-hydraulic) lime-mortar, are the definitive load-bearing element:



While they both involve bricks and look somewhat similar, Byzantine quasi-concretes actually have very distinct material properties from more standard lime-mortar brick- and stone-work -- they can be laid much faster (a major factor in the incredible speed of the Hagia Sophia's construction, just 5 years), stand up better to earthquakes, and are highly water-resistant, but take longer to fully set and, particularly on larger scales, can be vulnerable to warping and plastic flow under tensile stress during the initial setting process. The Hagia Sophia itself suffered from such warping to an extent, as can be seen in the main centre-vaults, and it may have been a key factor in the collapse of its first dome in the earthquake of 558. In later years, as mentioned before, wooden and iron chains, joints, and ties would be embedded in key structural elements to provide tensile reinforcement (to both traditional and concrete structures but especially important in the latter), of a kind particularly needed through the first few precarious decades of setting. Some examples from Ousterhouse's excellent Master Builders of Byzantium:



In any case, what this means is that most notable Byzantine structures, especially in the capital, aren't quite as relevant to a conversation focused on traditional masonry and brickwork, which seems to be the main focus of the thread so far, having their own very distinct benefits and drawbacks in terms of cost, speed of construction, architectural properties, environmental factors, and the like. They would be interesting to consider, but shouldn't really be lumped in with Greek temples or Gothic cathedrals.
 
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Aug 2018
653
london
On the subject of the Hagia Sophia, an important note is that it and many other Byzantine structures are actually built out of what's essentially a form of Roman concrete, adapted to suit Byzantine-period resources and needs, instead of the more traditional stone- and/or brick-work mostly under discussion here. The church and others like it employ bricks and stone as ordered aggregates for a larger quantity of pozzolanic (hydraulic) cement, which carries the majority of the load. This can be seen in these closeups of the Hagia Sophia's walls:





Compare this to, say, Tudor brickwork, in which the bricks themselves, stuck together with thin strips of (non-hydraulic) lime-mortar, are the definitive load-bearing element:



While they both involve bricks and look somewhat similar, Byzantine quasi-concretes actually have very distinct material properties from more standard lime-mortar brick- and stone-work -- they can be laid much faster (a major factor in the incredible speed of the Hagia Sophia's construction, just 5 years), stand up better to earthquakes, and are highly water-resistant, but take longer to fully set and, particularly on larger scales, can be vulnerable to warping and plastic flow under tensile stress during the initial setting process. The Hagia Sophia itself suffered from such warping to an extent, as can be seen in the main centre-vaults, and it may have been a key factor in the collapse of its first dome in the earthquake of 558. In later years, as mentioned before, wooden and iron chains, joints, and ties would be embedded in key structural elements to provide tensile reinforcement (to both traditional and concrete structures but especially important in the latter), of a kind particularly needed through the first few precarious decades of setting. Some examples from Ousterhouse's excellent Master Builders of Byzantium:



In any case, what this means is that most notable Byzantine structures, especially in the capital, aren't quite as relevant to a conversation focused on traditional masonry and brickwork, which seems to be the main focus of the thread so far, having their own very distinct benefits and drawbacks in terms of cost, speed of construction, architectural properties, environmental factors, and the like. They would be interesting to consider, but shouldn't really be lumped in with Greek temples or Gothic cathedrals.

The thread was really about whether Chinese architecture involved less skill or was less complex to build than Roman and Greek architecture, but the topic was posed in a confused way which is why it ended up with people talking about whether it's more difficult to build a hut from rocks or sticks.
 
Dec 2015
342
NYC
The thread was really about whether Chinese architecture involved less skill or was less complex to build than Roman and Greek architecture, but the topic was posed in a confused way which is why it ended up with people talking about whether it's more difficult to build a hut from rocks or sticks.
Read again my dear. I said in the end, "So is building with stone 'take more skill' than building with wood, or is there a bias towards stone masonry? "
 
Dec 2015
342
NYC
It has nothing to do with skill. It has to do with the amount of labour involved. Stone simply takes far more time and effort to harvest, transport, and assemble than wood.
It would also depend on the type of building to be assembled and what's to be accomplished.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,397
Sydney
the needed skills for wooden buildings might be more forgiving of mistake than stone
but if one apply the woodworking technique to ocean going multi decked warship ,
then the level of mastery is equal at the very least
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Apr 2017
750
Lemuria
Building with wood is a simple, vague statement. The method is what matters. You can build skyscrapers out of wood believe it or not. Building with/out of stone is also a simple statement. You can build a spaceship out of an asteroid or you can pile a bunch of rocks onto each other to make a crude shelter or enclosure or terraces or drainage system and you can end with something as complicated as the Great Zimbabwe in the process of not using mortar.

 
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