By Philip Wilkinson
Full-color art, together with cutaway illustrations and exploded perspectives, explores the various world's most famed architectural landmarks, together with the Paris Opera, the Taj Mahal, and Grand valuable Station.
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Additional resources for Building
Because of the turn of the stairs, an attacker trying to climb up would find it difficult to use his sword. Newel, or central pillar TOWER OF BABEL The medieval period was a great age for towerbuilding. Castles and manor houses needed defensive towers, and many churches had bell towers. Most of these towers had stairs on the inside, but this illustration from the 15th-century Bedford Book of Hours shows a different design. The artist gave the mythical Tower of Babel an outside staircase, winding around the four sides of the building.
In time, people began to build floors with wooden boards supported by crossbeams called joists. More elaborate buildings had floors covered with stone flags, bricks, or tiles. Only in the grandest buildings – such as the villas of the Romans with their elaborate mosaic floors, or Italian Renaissance palaces paved with marble – was the floor a decorative feature. Today, most floors in the West are made of wood, and the popularity of carpets and other floor coverings means that the wood remains hidden.
Later 19th-century iron balusters, by contrast, were often mass-produced in a mixture of classical, Gothic, and baroque styles. Handrail Even a staircase built in a narrow stairwell can be an imposing sight, as shown by this 17th-century staircase. Like many others of the period, it is made of oak. The balusters have been turned by a machine called a lathe. The large corner posts, called newel posts, are deeply carved and have tall, tapering finials. Ornate balusters and newel posts were common in grander buildings after the Renaissance period.