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FROM THE HISTORY OF BUILDING
Many thousands of years ago there were no houses such as people live in today. In hot countries people sometimes made their homes in the trees and used leaves to protect themselves from rain or sun. In colder countries they dwelt in caves. Later people left their caves and trees and began to build houses out of different materials such as mud, wood or stones.
Later people found out that bricks made of mud and dried in the hot sunshine became almost as hard as stones. In Ancient Egypt especially, people learned to use these sun-dried mud bricks. Some of their buildings are still standing after several thousands of years.
The Ancient Egyptians discovered how to cut stone for building purposes. They erected temples, palaces and huge tombs. The greatest tomb is the stone pyramid of Khufu, king of Egypt. The ancient Egyptians often erected their huge constructions to commemorate their kings or pharaohs.
The ancient Greeks also understood the art of building with cut stone, and their buildings were beautiful as well as useful. They often used pillars partly for supporting the roofs and partly for decoration. Parts of these ancient buildings can still be seen today in Greece.
The Romans were great bridge, harbour and road builders. In road work the Romans widely used timber piles. They also erected aqueducts, reservoirs, water tanks, etc. Some of their constructions are still used till now. It is known that the manufacture of lime is one of the oldest industries used by man. Lime is a basic building material used all over the world as today so in the ancient world. One of the Romans, Marcus Porcius Cato, gave an idea of a kiln for lime production: its shape and dimensions. Such kilns were fired with wood or coal and were extremely inefficient. There are still many remains of kilns in some places of Great Britain as well as roads and the famous Hadrian Wall, which was erected to protect Romans from the celtic tribes in the first century A.D. Britain was a province of the Roman Empire for about four centuries. There are many things today in Britain to remind the people of the Roman: towns, roads, wells and the words.
In a period of 800 to 900 years the Romans developed concrete to the position
of the main structural material in the empire. It is surprising, therefore, that after the fall of the Empire, much of the great knowledge should have disappeared so completely. The knowledge of how to make durable concrete has been lost for centuries, but mention was made of it in the writings of architects from time to time.
Fusion of Roman and North European traditions in construction was reflected in many ways. Buildings combined the Roman arch and the steep peaked roof of Northern Europe. Roman traditions were continued in the architectural form known as Romanesque. London Bridge, finished in 1209, took thirty-three years to build. It consisted of nineteen irregular pointed arches with its piers resting on broad foundation, which was designed to withstand the Thames current.
The Roman period was followed by other periods each of which produced its own type of architecture and building materials. During the last hundred years many new methods of building have been discovered. One of the recent discoveries is the usefulness of steel as a building material.
Nowadays when it is necessary to have a very tall building, the frame of it is first built in steel and then the building is completed in concrete. Concrete is an artificial kind of stone, much cheaper than brick or natural stone and much stronger than they are. The Egyptians employed it in the construction of bridges, roads and town walls. There are evidences than ancient Greeks also used concrete for the building purposes. The use of concrete by the ancient Romans can be traced back as far as 500 B.C. They were the first to use it throughout the ancient Roman Empire on a pretty large scale and many structures made of concrete remain till nowadays thus proving the long life of buildings made of concrete. Of course, it was not the concrete people use today. It consisted of mud, clay and pure lime, which were used to hold together the roughly broken stone in foundations and walls. It was so-called “pseudo-concrete”. The idea of such building material might have been borrowed from the ancient Greeks as some samples of it were found in the ruins of Pompeii.
Task 1. Find in the text equivalent English phrases to the following Russian
бесполезность использования стали
в качестве строительного материала
грубо обтесанный камень
они первыми использовали
в довольно широких масштабах
Возможно, вот эти варианты, взятые из текста выше, подойдут Вам:
доисторические времена - many thousands of years ago (или же B.C. -- before Christ)
римский период - Roman period
полезность использования стали в качестве строительного материала - usefulness of steel as a building material (может, Вы имели ввиду слово полезность, а не бесполезность?)
грубо обтесанный камень - the roughly broken stone
они первыми использовали - they were the first to use
недавние открытия - the recent discoveries
в довольно широких масштабах - on a pretty large scale