Building may be a noun or a verb. Building is one of the most ancient human skills. It is part of how we have survived and it is the clearest symbol of every civilization. Although some other animals build simple structures, e.g. birds, ants and bees, humans have learned to build in a great many different ways to suit different needs and local conditions. We build mostly for shelter. Buildings can shelter people, or animals, or machinery, or anything. The simplest building is just a roof to keep the space beneath dry, or shady. Adding walls gives more shelter, from the wind or rain. It also gives security.
By putting a window in a wall with or without glass, we let light inside the building. We leave a hole somewhere big enough to go in and out, with a door which can be opened and closed. Often the door will have a lock so the building can be left secure.
If a building is to last for a long time, it must have a solid foundation. This foundation is like the root of a tree, which is sunk a bit deep into the ground and supports the walls. If the ground is soft, the foundation must be very deep and strong so that the building might be having a strong contact with the ground.
If a building is high enough, it can have more than one floor. People can climb from one floor to the next by a staircase, or perhaps by a lift or elevator. This is known as going upstairs, or downstairs. Buildings can also have a floor under the ground. This is usually called a cellar or basement.
Buildings can be beautiful or ugly, exciting or boring. Architects are people trained to design buildings. Their work is called architecture and it can be an art form. Look at the building where you are reading this. Look at the shapes and shadows. Is there enough light? Do some rooms make you feel like staying in them while others make you want to hurry away? Do they have interesting features? Think about how you could have made the building better. Almost anybody can become an architect if they want to. But only a good architect or a good builder can design or build a beautiful building.
Types of buildings
Shelters are places to live and to raise our young. We also build places to work and to make things, places to store things, places to sell things, places where sick people can go to be treated, places to put people who break our laws. We build to make life easier, or to make money.
Some buildings are meeting places. A large number of people can gather at a temple to worship god or listen to what other people have to say. In Christendom they are called churches. Until we began to build skyscrapers, churches were always the very largest, tallest buildings of all, except for castles. Many very big churches are cathedrals, even bigger than most castles. Big buildings require much work to make, thus can symbolize power. They impress and they give a focus to cities.
Buildings are made of various materials. Where wood is plentiful, it is much used. Many very old buildings of stone exist. Concrete is used almost everywhere. Starting in the late 19th century, skyscrapers were made of steel, increasingly combined with glass.
Where people live or stay
Where people work
- School, Study hall, dormitory
- Farm, barn, silo
- Fire Station
- Jail or prison
- Police Station
- Power plant