Technology

Stone Cladding as Preservation Challenge

By Sarah Ripple

The architectural use of stone changed dramatically with the development of modern steel frame technology in the late nineteenth century, which resulted in the transition from stone as a load bearing material to a thin veneer. As with every many technology shifts in architecture, thin stone veneer experienced a period of trial and error from 1949-1980, and it was applied without real precedence or a comprehensive understanding of how it would perform (as per my own definition stone veneer is less than 3" in thickness). This reduction in stone thickness for cladding purposes required a rethinking of the systems for attachment to the structural framework, materials and detailing, and the stone selection process. Consequently, the modern architecture movement parallels the period of greatest technological change within stone veneer development.

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