Knowing the stone, and having probably a notion of its possibilities of support when contemplating the roof of the cave where it inhabited, the first beam will have appeared to him in the form of a trunk of tree fallen of margin the margin of a course of water and on which he could pass confidently. The wood, being light, resistant, easy to work, existing in abundance, with variable lengths and diameters, gave the Man the possibility to leave the cave, initially constructing huts whose structure would be constituted by branches and reeds being the cover realized of agglomerated leaves with clay or with skins. The most elementary structure of wood emerged in the form of two sticks nailed to the ground and connected in the triangular upper ends by fibrous plant elements such as wicker, strips of fur or,
The need to cover increasingly large spaces has made the structure more complex; that is, the inclined parts required an intermediate support, thus appearing the anchors and the counter level, a horizontal piece.
For a greater use of the space and greater facility to realize openings to the outside, the direct support pieces of the cover are no longer directly attached to the ground, being supported in vertical elements, thus realizing the skeleton of walls, that is, a set of beams and pillars.
For many centuries carpentry was the most important art in the construction of buildings, whose architecture was strongly influenced by this material.From the dwellings to the first fortifications, their defense systems (drawbridges, catapults, etc.), and religious buildings, whose coverage of them and tower structures brought problems, relative to the span, whose resolution was problematic. The many carpenters handed down their experience from generation to generation to their previous experience. His knowledge of the characteristics of wood and the behavior of structures allowed him to carry out, in the Middle Ages and in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, true masterpieces both from the point of view of conception and of achievement.
We can not speak of the use of wood without specifying each civilization.Each climate, terrain, cataclysms that determined a different method in the use of wood. The human being saw in this element a source of endless aptitudes. Let’s see, the wood floats, so the first boats came out of it and were perfected with time. It’s easy to work with, so utensils, home or work, furniture, and sculptures. Each place has its own types and species of trees.In this way Man adapted his needs to what was available to him.
Some civilizations the use of wood in the architecture stood out in a different way, as for example the Far East, with a light architecture is made to withstand frequent earthquakes, therefore, using fragile but sturdy fittings. Already the Norwegian architecture is characterized by the width of the walls able to isolate the cold, a massive use of wood in large dimensions in the construction, very different from the Oriental. But very interesting the different type of use.
Far EastEastern civilizations carry with them the fame of “mystery,” of the unknown, “of strong beliefs, a rich culture that remains practically intact. In some places we may have the impression that globalization would never exist in these places. For the rooted culture is very strong. That is why the History of Eastern Architecture is still little known. The cataclysms helped a great deal to conceal the past, and make it difficult to date the works (for after fires, or earthquakes, …), with all the cataclysms that the cities had (and have) to go through, and even though they destroyed the have the gift of re-use (the elements remain, and so it is difficult to date anything). Wood exposed to climatic variation may not hold, but we have some examples of Japanese constructions dating to 670 and 714. In this architecture what is more valued is the ground floor (symbol of the earth), and the roof (symbol of the sky). Of the eastern countries the most outstanding is Japan in the Far East. Because it is isolated by sea and ocean. This complex of islands became impenetrable, soon retained for much longer. Having as initial architecture the Chinese and the Korean, it remained faithful (whereas the others did not).
European Civilizations A striking architecture in wood, is the Norwegian, where there are many forests, and the climate is cold. The inhabitants used wood as the main building element due to its thermal and insulation characteristics. In addition to the houses the “Vikings” (previous civilizations of the same region) used the wood in the construction of their boats: “Drakkars”. The most commonly used style in Norwegian houses is the “laft”, where the walls are erected with horizontally stacked wooden trunks. The total insulation was obtained with colored slats between the trunks, or an elaborate paste (in the poor houses). The house remained uninhabited for about a year so that the trunks would sit on each other, which made the houses lose a few inches in height. The frames were placed later.
By the end of the nineteenth century the degree of evolution already reached seemed to allow no further progress. The emergence of steel, with profiles of extremely varied shapes and dimensions, allowed the realization of new and more daring structures, corresponding to the requirements of industrial development such as large workshops, aviation hangars, large span bridges, for example. At the same time, rapid progress has been made in the calculation of structures and knowledge of the properties of materials.The wood, of empirical and traditional use, began to give way to the new material. The crisis has been accentuated by the progress of reinforced concrete, with the applications of wood, in many countries, in great decline.
However, in recent years, an effort has been made to rehabilitate wood as the main building material. Inevitably classic building systems have been abandoned, as more efficient ways of connecting are now available. New ideas emerged, new structural conceptions, with pieces of composite sections, whose characteristics are closer and closer to those of steel. The use of glued laminated structures, progress in plywood and clusters, and a better understanding of their mechanical properties, are in many other ways that lead to new perspectives of a greater use of wood to its origin, construction.