Engineering and technical achievements in 19th-century architecture

Engineering and technical achievements in 19th-century architecture

A historically significant event that occurred in Western Europe from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th century was the industrial boom. This event had a colossal impact on economic and cultural development, as well as on progress in the field of architecture. The foundation of this boom was the shift from manual labor to machine production.
With this change came the need for new types of buildings, such as factories and mills, leading to significant changes in architecture and construction.
In the metallurgical sphere, there was a significant expansion in the range of cast iron and steel products, opening up new horizons for architectural design.
When developing projects for factories and mills, architects were tasked with creating efficiently functioning buildings quickly and economically, where aesthetic criteria were subordinate to practicality and economy.
Reflections on the importance of using non-combustible building materials in structures led to the widespread use of bricks for walls and the introduction of new metal elements for inter-floor ceilings, such as metal beams with protruding shelves, on which small-sized brick arches were laid, and cast iron stands with brackets as supports.
Standardization of the sizes of stands and beams contributed to the acceleration of construction.
The development of metalworking and metallurgy provided builders with new materials, which also found application in the construction of bridges, viaducts, and other complex engineering structures.

By the end of the 18th – beginning of the 19th centuries, bridges of great length began to be constructed, the first of which were made from cast iron elements. An example is the bridge in Coalbrookdale with a span of 30 meters and an elegant metallic structure.
Progress in bridge building was rapid, and by the early 19th century, various bridge constructions had been created for enormous spans.
The development of capitalism stimulated the construction of large commercial buildings requiring large spans and maximum lighting. For these structures, light metal constructions were used, for example, for the debarkaders of railway stations.

Architects gradually began to move away from traditional forms, and in the second half of the 19th century in England and France, buildings appeared with metallic bearing structures openly demonstrating their technical features.

Particularly significant were two structures of the 1889 Paris International Exhibition: the 300-meter Eiffel Tower and the "Machine Gallery," a giant metal structure.

In the mid-19th century, reinforced concrete was invented, which became a new building material and received its development and theoretical basis thanks to the work of engineer Hennebique.
In Russia, too, the active use of metal structures continued, for example, in the construction of the dome of the Kazan Cathedral and the metal roofing of the shipbuilding plant's boathouse in Petersburg.

In the following decade, reinforced concrete received further development in the constructive and theoretical plan. Engineer Hennebique made a significant contribution to the theory and practice of using this material, developing a reinforcement system designed to withstand tensile and shearing loads, which is still used today.

Thus, the engineering and technical achievements of the 19th century in construction not only facilitated the development of new types of buildings and structures but also laid the foundation for future innovations in architecture and construction. This period had a tremendous influence on the development of construction technologies, materials science, and design thought, the consequences of which are felt to this day.