Book: Fundamentals of Building Construction by Edward Allen & Joseph Iano
We build because most human activities cannot take place outdoors. We need shelter from sun, wind, rain, and snow. We need dry, level platforms for our activities. Often we need to stack these platforms to multiply available space. On these platforms, and within our shelter, we need air that is warmer or cooler, more or less humid, than outdoors. We need less light by day, and more by night, than is offered by the natural world. We need services that provide energy, communications, and water and dispose of wastes.
So, we gather materials and assemble them into the constructions we call buildings in an attempt to satisfy these needs.
Throughout this book many alternative ways of building are described: different structural systems, different systems of enclosure, and different systems of interior fi nish. Each system has characteristics that distinguish it from the alternatives. Sometimes a system is distinguished chiefly by its visual qualities, as one might acknowledge in choosing one type of granite over another, one color of paint over another, or one tile pattern over another.
One cannot gain all the knowledge needed to make such decisions from a textbook. It is incumbent upon the reader to go far beyond what can be presented here—to other books, to catalogs, to trade publications, to professional periodicals, and especially to the design offi ce, the workshop, and the building site.


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