Introduction comparative study of masonry. The case study

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Last updated: April 20, 2019

Introduction 1.1  Casestudy This report is acomparative study of masonry. The case study that I chose to further study onis the Beverley Minster, a substantial and assertive Gothic church located inthe East Riding of Yorkshire. Architecture played a very important role for thechurch in Medieval England. The more splendid the architecture, the more thechurch believed it was praising God. fig.1 BeverleyMinster West front Beverley Minster1.2 The church is composed of three parts,choir and transepts (c.

1225-1260), nave (c.1308-c. 1370), and west façade(c.

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1380-1420). It contains components of three gothic styles – early English,decorated and perpendicular all combined into a harmonious conclusion.  A magnificent example is the continuousvaulting from end to end. fig.2 Beverley Minsterfig.3 Beverley Minster1.

3On the approach to Beverley, the slendertwin west towers of the Minster stand high above the flat surroundingcountryside. Special points of interest on the exterior are the west front andthe Highgate door, both considered to be exceptional examples of thePerpendicular style. These formed the inspiration for the present west towersof Westminster Abbey, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor.1.4The layout of the Minster conforms to thatof most medieval cathedrals and large churches.

Starting at the west end andproceeding east there is the nave, transept, choir, sanctuary and retro quire.Two features of the Minster are unusual: there is a second transept near theeast end and the main transept has aisles on both the east and west sides. Fig. 4 ground plan of Beverley minster 1.5The Minster was built in the period1190-1420.

The east end up and including the main transept is largely EarlyEnglish, typified by pointed arches, lancet windows, stiff-leaf decoration,dog-tooth moulding and Purbeck ‘marble’. Construction2.1 The stone used throughout islimestone, mostly from Tadcaster near York. It is light in colour, giving the Minstera bright, luminous aspect not often found in medieval buildings. Especially atthe east end, there is a considerable use of black Purbeck ‘marble’ (actuallynot marble but a hard limestone from Dorset) in shafts and columns.2.2The limestone blocks were extracted at Tadcasterand transported 41 miles on a cart to Beverley. The quarries at Tadcaster werealso used to provide the blocks for York Minster nearby.

  As with all constructions, the quality of theworkmanship, and particularly the mortar affects the durability and life of thebuilding. Though there are several other factors to be considered as to whyconstruct Beverley Minster with limestone block. 2.3 The roofstructure on the Minster is highly complex and has changed several times over theyears. Attached at Appendix A is a drawing of a typical roof joint used at thetime of construction.

 fig.5 roofworkshop of Beverley minster featuring the largetreadmill.  Masonry Advantages ofLimestone Block Masonry Construction fig.

6 limestonewall  3.1 Through the ages butparticularly medieval times, religious buildings of such magnitude were oftenbuilt with masonry such as limestone block. The desire to use this particularlimestone was undoubtedly economic and the ready availability of raw materials.There are two main types of sedimentary stone used in masonry work, limestonesand sandstones. Limestone is still quarried in nearby Lincolnshire to repairbuildings such as the Houses of Parliament. 3.2 Limestone is the choice of the stonemason to utilizetheir carvery skills. Whilst durable and used for sustainability, Churchdesigns often changed when under construction.

Limestone offered the stonemason opportunity to carve new designs through the process. 3.3 Limestone construction provided solidity and asubstantial degree of permanence. Whilst the East Riding of Yorkshire does nothave a history of seismic events, the huge foundations will have been laid onthe Holderness Clay alluvial deposits.

Sustained durability given a probablyrestricted budget would be prerequisite. 3.4 Building with Limestone block offers a substantialprotection against fire.

It is none combustible and a solid construction. Themass of the building also offers substantial protection from storm damage. 3.5 The design process forreligious constructions undoubtedly would have a requirement for acousticeffectiveness and the use of masonry blocks would have re-emphasized religiouscontrol over the population by the use of imposing material.

The use of theblocks enabled the build of such a huge construction, clearly offering a hugedegree of structural strength but maintaining an aesthetically appealingconcept. 3.6 Whilst there is a debate onquarrying and the impact it has on the environment in today’s society, theLimestone was an effective economically readily available material and quiteclearly made good business sense to utilize these assets in the locality.

 Disadvantages of LimestoneBlock Masonry Construction 4.1 Extreme weather can causedegradation of masonry. Particularly the expansion and contraction of thefreeze-thaw cycle which shatters the surface. Beverley Minster has been damagedon numerous occasions by storms over the centuries. Though main structuresremained intact. The colour of the limestone will be affected over time byweathering and pollution.

Though sandblasting and careful cleaning is availableto resolve this issue. 4.2 Masonry construction doesnot lend itself well to mechanization and requires skilled labour. Time servedskilled stone masons are still the obvious choice for maintenance and repair. 4.3 Sedimentary rock by itsvery complex structure (compression of shale like substances) is notparticularly cohesive and does not react well to oscillation and movement.

Immense foundations would have been excavated and completed to support thestructure. 4.4 Limestone would have beenexpensive both for quarry, transport and designed as opposed to other potentialbuilding construction materials for such a project. Limestone is a porous rockover time and will absorb moisture. Though modern technology is available tocoat and weatherproof.  Timber       Advantages of using atimber construction 5.1 Timber is a natural,ecological and sustainable product if reasonably sourced.

A material usedthrough the ages for a range of buildings. It does of cause compliment masonrystructures in terms of certain wall structures, roof systems, and joints.People have been building with timber for thousands of years. Timber iscontinually being grown in our forests and plantations. 5.2 Using Timber has lots ofadvantages. It is none toxic, safe to handle and weathers naturally.

Lifecycles of buildings are taken into account when using timber and costaccordingly. 5.3 Timber production uses verylittle energy in converting the wood in trees to the timber used in a building.This means that the embodied energy in timber is very low, the lowest of almostall common building materials. 5.

4 Timber has stored carbonfrom the atmosphere and will not be released unless used. 5.5 Timber is a very goodinsulator. It reduces the amount of energy used to heat and operate a building.Timber is a natural insulator and can reduce energy needs especially when it isused in windows, doors, and floors.

It is easy to work with using the fairlysimple equipment. 5.6 Locally available or can betransported easily.

Clearly wood is versatile and can be milled to desirableworking lengths and size.  5.7 Project times will be less as Timber is quicker to work with and reduceslabor costs.

 Disadvantages of using timber construction 6.1 The exercise of building intimber requires more precision and planning than a masonry property. Timberalso needs a procurement process which takes time. 6.2  External timber is notorious for rotting and prone to decay if notmaintained.

 6.3 Timber is highly combustible and history shows that fire is a realconcern for all Timber constructions. 6.4 Timber will rot and decaywhen exposed to excessive moisture and will follow its natural urge to degradeif not protected. Concrete Advantages of usingconcrete construction 7.1 Concrete is versatile andmodern.

It can be molded and formed into just about anything. It is durable andalso a very effective thermal mass.as it absorbs and retains heat well, keepingconcrete buildings cool in the summer and warm in the winter. 7.2 Concrete is economical, hasa long life and relatively low maintenance requirements. It is not likely torot, corrode or decay. Concrete does not combust which makes it fire-safe andable to withstand high temperatures. It is also weatherresistant and is a barrierto insects and rodents.

It is also resistant to wind, water rodents, andinsects. Disadvantages of using concrete construction 8.1Concrete has a relativelylow tensile strength, ductility, and strength to weight ratio. It has lowthermal conductivity. 8.2 Concrete is susceptible tocracking and may contain soluble salts.

This may cause efflorescence and affectthe general appearance. Steel Advantages of steelconstruction 9.1 Structural steel componentsare lighter and stronger than weight-bearing wood or concrete products. Atypical weight-bearing steel fabrication is 30% to 50% lighter than a wooden equivalent.

This makes steel frame construction far stronger and more durable thantraditional wood framed alternatives. 9.2 Steelstuds are available in a variety of sizes and can be fabricated order. Thismeans they can be customized to bear specific loads in buildings of alldifferent types and sizes. 9.3 Steel frame constructionreduces the fire risk to a building and retarding the spread of a fire shouldone occur.

Special flame retardant coatings act to increase this property ofstructural steel. However, it will burn after reached a certain level of heat. 9.4 Structural steel componentsare immune to the degrading effects of burrowing insects and mammals, which cancause a problem for wooden framework unless adequately treated. 9.5 Steelcan be reused and recycled repeatedly without ever losing its qualities as abuilding material.

This unique characteristic gives all steel a high economicvalue at all stages of its life cycle which, unlike some other constructionmaterials, ensures that it is routinely recovered and reused. Disadvantages of steelconstruction 10.1  Steelis not known for its warmth, due to its high efficiency in conducting heat. Theinsulation value of walls can be reduced by as much as half when heat istransferred away through steel studs, which is not great for energy retention. 10.

2 One of the benefits ofusing wooden structural components is the ability to adjust them on site. Acomponent can be cut down to size, nails hammered in to strengthen the join andso on. This obviously can’t happen with steel. 10.3 Steelframe constructions rarely work on their own. They usually require drywall,sheathing, insulation and supplementary wooden components to bring a buildingtogether. Maintenance cost of a steel structure is very high due to the actionof rust in steel and expensive paints are required to renew time to time.

 11. Conclusion 11.1 The overall purpose to buildBeverly Minster was to achieve an imposing religious building that was to serveGod and ensure the people were aware of the power of the church. 11.

2 To build an immense Church the sizeof Beverley Minster given the available resources at the times of constructioncould only be Limestone block offering longevity, durability and value formoney. The stonemason could readily carve and design each block on site.11.3 After researching the potentialalternatives, steel and concrete were not readily available at the time ofconstruction and even today, would not achieve the distinct imposing effect andcolorization of blocked limestone. Timber construction inside the roof compliments the Limestone block,however, Timber could play no part in the structure of the walls.

 11.4 A timber frame of that sizewould not be able to fix the foundations and offer support and permanence. Firerisk and storm damage are also clear risk factors for such a construction andemphasize the requirements for such a build bearing in mind the objectives fordurability and cost, the only build consideration could be Limestone block.

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