History Of Housing
A HOUSE is a building that provides shelter, comfort, and protection. It is one of man's three most important necessities. The other two being food and clothing. Shelter protects man from wind and rain, and from hot and cold weather. It shields him against insects and wild animals, and helps protect him from other dangers. Come let's look at the types of housing through the ages.
The first shelters
Before man knew how to build shelters, he lived in trees. The trees kept off some of the rain. They also protected him from some animals (those that could not climb up the tree).
Later, man taught himself to pile branches and make crude shelters to protect himself from the wind and sun. This was followed by living in caves.
Man slowly learned to make simple tools, first of stone and much later of metal. These helped him build better houses. He built his home from the best material he could find around him to suit his needs.
Where there were few trees, man learned to pile stones together to make a shelter. In some places, he found that he could build houses from the earth itself. He learned how to form clay into small blocks that could be dried in the sun. He made his shelter by piling these bricks on top of each other.
Homes in ancient civilizations
The ancient Egyptians began building their flat-topped houses of sun-dried bricks at around 3100BC. In about 2500BC, the Assyrians too adopted this method of building. But they had improved on the techniques. They discovered that baking bricks in fire made them harder and stronger. They also learned how to put a glass coating on to their bricks. We call this glazing.
The ancient Greeks lived in well-made stone houses with slanted roofs; that let the snow and rain slide off. The Romans hackneyed the Greek ideas about building and added a few of their own, such as central heating. They laid rows of earthenware pipes under the roofs and floors and ran hot water or air through them to heat. They built their houses around atriums, or a central court, with rooms off the court. Sometimes they left the court entirely open, but generally they roofed the sides and left the centre open.
Shelter in the middle ages
The Roman Empire collapsed around AD400, and the improvements they had made in housing were lost for several hundreds of years. German and Scandinavian tribes overran Europe. These northern men constructed a set of buildings called a ‘ham', from which the word ‘home' was later derived.
The principal building of the ham was a long hall called the heal. These northern men supported their buildings with frameworks of heavy timber or wood and filled the spaces between the wood with clay.
Some of these houses developed into the fortified castles of the Middle Ages, with thick stonewalls, water filled moats, and drawbridges. Inside the walls, people built stables for horses, barracks for soldiers, shops for making tools and weapons, kitchens, dining halls, and even a prison for captured enemies.
Around the 1400s, Europeans began building half-timbered houses, with stone or brick foundations. They placed a tree trunk at each corner of the house, and set upright wooden beams between the trundle. Then they fastened crossbeams at the top and bottom of the beams and added slanting braces. They covered the walls with lath, or thin wooden strips, plastered with a mixture of clay and straw. By l500s, many more additions were made to such houses.
Red Indian shelter
Before the white men came to North America, the natives built several types of houses from the materials they found in different parts of the continent. The eastern woodland tribes made wigwams by tying together wide strips of bark to frames made of young trees bent to form arches.
The Indian plains had few trees, they lived among herds of buffaloes. These tribes made their teepees by tying a few poles together at the top, spreading them at the bottom like an umbrella, and covering it with buffalo skin.
Before the Spaniards came to Peru, the Incas made unusual stone houses. Every house was made of stone blocks cut by hand with stone tools. The Incas built houses on several levels. Stone stairways connected the levels. Stone aqueducts carried water to the pools outside the houses where people drank and bathed.
Living in the industrial revolution era
During the 1700s, many products including houses became cheaper and more abundant. Homes became more comfortable in the 1800s, as iron stoves replaced the fireplaces. Kerosene lamps took the place of candles, and gaslight later replaced both. Indoor toilets also became common then.
Today a house must supply comfort and satisfaction as well as protection. It has bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a drawing room and of course bathrooms instead of the public bathing places.
Many bungalows have a garden in the front, too. Today people are privileged enough to have washing machines, heating and cooling systems, refrigerators and electricity.
The modern houses are of different shapes, sizes and styles. Also there are apartments of different types, for people to choose from.
Today, houses are made of bricks much similar to those of the Assyrians. These are put together with cement. There are different types of glasses for the windowpanes.
Many people give themes to their homes. Like some have a Mughlai outlook or maybe really modern and state-of-the-art interiors.
All in all, because of increasing discoveries and inventions, the way of living has changed considerably through the ages. These changes have made houses more comfortable and attractive.
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