Ancient and Contemporary Egyptian Architecture
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This paper describes the factors influencing the tools and materials used in ancient Egyptian architecture that are still in use today. The design, form, size, amount and configuration of the equipment and resources utilized in the construction of typical buildings such as palaces, temples and institutional structures are discussed here and the parallels between this architecture and the contemporary buildings. In particular, the tools of designing various shapes of bricks and stones for construction of buildings, the methods used to move and lift construction materials at the worksite, and the design of the foundations of buildings and the inclusion of pillars and columns in buildings are considered in both ancient Egyptian and contemporary architecture.
The means of transport of the materials used for construction in ancient Egypt that is mainly attested to archeology include the use of rollers, sledges and ropes that were towed by strong construction workers or towed by oxen (Arnold 248). Interestingly, Arnold remarks that recent experiments and experiences reveal that towing needed three strong men for each tone of construction material, so long as the friction of the towing surface was reduced by wetting it (248). A look at the contemporary methods of delivering construction materials to the construction site is very akin to these ancient Egyptian methods, only that today’s modalities are greatly advanced in mechanization and technology to enhance their effectiveness and efficiency.
For instance, the use of mechanized cranes and trucks to lift loads at construction sites is technically a modification and combination of the rollers, sledges and ropes to deliver materials where they are required for construction. Both the ancient Egyptian and the contemporary methods of transporting construction materials apply similar mechanical principles, only that today’s methods are much more advanced with the current advances in mechanical and construction engineering.
As far as architectural tools are concerned, the invention of metal tools in Egypt encouraged the initiation of the efforts of curving stones on a large scale for special architectural designs and the construction of stone (Smith 190). This practice of shaping stones for building construction is practiced worldwide due to the attractiveness that curved stones add to the aesthetic value of a structure. Moreover, Smith observes that the knowledge and understanding of the triumph of ancient Egyptians in architecture was so influential especially along North Africa countries and later in other parts of Africa (193). This architectural skill of designing structures of curved stones was also borrowed by other architectures from other parts of the world.
Furthermore, ancient Egyptian architecture was influenced by the contextual significance as in the case of construction of extremely strong foundations, comprising the sub-foundation, the foundation and the slightly less substantial paving slabs (Arnold 94). Such foundational design was applied to signify the strength of the Egyptian rulers and their armies. In similar manner, architects today are extremely careful with design of the foundations buildings for the stability and the compensation of the base against the pressure of the entire structure.
Additionally, most ancient Egyptian buildings were designed with the inclusion of strong extensive pillars and columns that were deeply and strongly founded mainly at the balconies of the structures (Arnold 102). This also contributed to the support of the buildings and to its aesthetic looks. This design of buildings with pillars and columns originated from ancient Egyptian architecture and is widely applied today especially in most government buildings housing the presidents and other leaders in most countries.
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