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Ancient Architecture Vs Modern Methods

The ability and desire to create dwelling places that are different from what nature provides is not unique among members of the human race. Indeed, there are spider webs, beaver dams, ape nests and other structures that prove that animals are just as willing to build as humans. One major difference is that we build places not just to live in them but also to work in or even to store things that we find beautiful. Other reasons exist but from these needs came the first architects. Through their examples the skills needed to create much of the ‘civilized’ world we see around us came about. Here in this essay we will explore some of the more in depth differences between previous and current methods in architecture.

Use of environmentally friendly practices

The recent wave of green building practices is far from new. Some of the most environmentally friendly buildings that have ever been created have been made thousands of years in the past. Previous generations of humans had no access to heavy machinery so they could only use what was easily available. This meant mixing straw and mud to mold into the houses themselves or making sun baked bricks from them. Manure would be added and even animal blood. The lighting would be considered beforehand in terms of window placement to catch waning sunlight. Heating and cooling were addressed without the need for electricity by varying the heights of ceilings and even using damp fabrics and evaporation. In modern buildings ‘greening’ is done by using energy efficient bulbs or less toxic paint.


While many of the oldest buildings ever created have long crumbled to dust, there are many that survive even now, thousands of years after they were created. Generally, the structures that modern architects have created are not expected to last more than a hundred years. Consider the Great Wall of China or the Pyramids of Giza. There are pyramids in South America as well that were constructed hundreds of years before Europeans began visiting that continent in large numbers. They continue to stand with virtually no maintenance. This shows that those ancient techniques may have much to offer to modern builders.

Old things should not always be discarded in favor of newer ones. That would result in a loss of some of the better aspects of cumulative human learning.


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