modern condominium building with balconies

Architecture: Beyond Aesthetics

The United States is home to many awe-inspiring architectural structures. Several notable examples are the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, and Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC.

Most buildings are known for their design and aesthetic, but their construction is also equally elaborate. Erecting a building entails multiple complex tasks with a number of stages. Some particular processes involved in construction are masonry, framing, and carpentry. In this guide, we’ll explore the historical origins and applications of each one.


Masonry is a traditional art of fabricating buildings with materials like clay, brick, stone, and concrete block. It can also mean constructing units bearing the same name.

The masonry work you hire from Kansas City and other parts of the state is one of the oldest skilled trades, dating back to over 6,000 years ago in the early uses of sunbaked brick. It is a craft that significantly helped in building many of the world’s most well-known structures, with the Roman Colosseum, the Great Wall of China, and the Taj Mahal to name a few.

In 2600 BC, the ancient Egyptians used fundamental masonry to create Pyramids by piling up huge pieces of limestone, using gypsum and rubber for filling in gaps and compressing the structures, and granite for constructing the roofs, as well as the walls of the burial chamber.

Throughout the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution, masonry was immensely applied — the sturdiness and durability of the structures improving periodically. Now, fast forward to this century’s contemporary era, masonry has somehow diminished as an art but continued to be a major and relevant skilled trade. Instead of stone or bricks, concrete block is preferred today due to its cost-efficiency in labor expenses.


wood framing of house under construction

Frames are often made of steel or other forms of metal nowadays. However, in earlier times, timber framing had been more widely popular.

The construction of a timber frame is an intricate art entailing special framing techniques to connect a network of rafters, posts, beams, and braces through the use of tools like chisels, mallets, and pegs. It’s in fact considered a basic engineering method in ancient Scandinavian and German woodworks. Moreover, it’s been extensively applied in the building of structures in the British Isles, the Francophone regions, and multiple parts of Asia.

Timber framing doesn’t require heat for joining pieces together nor does it involve the use of nails. Today, manufacturers turn to high-tech methods to construct prefabricated homes to be delivered on sites, allowing for a shorter duration of a  building project and decreased labor costs. Not only that, but timber also has a significantly lower environmental impact than steel frames.


Carpentry is an art and trade that — similar to framing — deals with the cutting and joining of timber and other wood products. It encompasses even the structural processes of creating and framing items such as staircases and doors.

This craft can be traced back to 4,000 B.C., appearing to be utilized in the making of shaped wooden tools that early humans used. All throughout history, in numerous civilizations such as the Egyptians, the Chinese, the Vikings, and in Europe, carpentry continued to revolutionize.

Today, carpentry still remains an essential skilled trade but extends to many purposes, from creating art to architectural structures. Furthermore, instead of just wood, more materials are now available, including fiberglass and plastic. More tools are also used in cutting, shaping, and fastening the materials together.

Architecture is not only centralized on the design, but also the actual work that made the construction of a structure possible. Architectural masterpieces are therefore not just the brainchild of architects and engineers, but also the fruits of the labor of everyone involved in its building.

Scroll to Top