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A wall is a structure that defines an area, carries a load, or provides shelter or security. There are many kinds of walls, including:
A defensive wall is a fortification usually used to protect a city, town or other settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements. Generally, these are referred to as city walls or town walls, although there were also walls, such as the Great Wall of China, Walls of Benin, Hadrian's Wall, Anastasian Wall, the Cyclopean Wall Rajgir and the metaphorical Atlantic Wall, which extended far beyond the borders of a city and were used to enclose regions or mark territorial boundaries. In mountainous terrain, defensive walls such as letzis were used in combination with castles to seal valleys from potential attack. Beyond their defensive utility, many walls also had important symbolic functions – representing the status and independence of the communities they embraced.
A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to solidify rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from the Latin fortis ("strong") and facere.
A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships having the degree of freedom zero. The word "superstructure" is a combination of the Latin prefix, super with the Latin stem word, structure.
Wall comes from Latin vallum meaning "...an earthen wall or rampart set with palisades, a row or line of stakes, a wall, a rampart, fortification..." while the Latin word murus means a defensive stone wall.English uses the same word to mean an external wall and the internal sides of a room, but this is not universal. Many languages distinguish between the two. In German, some of this distinction can be seen between Wand and Mauer, in Spanish between pared and muro.
English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.
The word wall originally referred to defensive walls and ramparts.
In fortification architecture, a rampart is a length of bank or wall forming part of the defensive boundary of a castle, hillfort, settlement or other fortified site. It is usually broad-topped and made of excavated earth or masonry or a combination of the two.
The purposes of the walls in buildings are to support roofs, floors and ceilings; to enclose a space as part of the building envelope along with a roof to give buildings form; and to provide shelter and security. In addition, the wall may house various types of utilities such as electrical wiring or plumbing. Wall construction falls into two basic categories: framed walls or mass-walls. In framed walls the load is transferred to the foundation through posts, columns or studs. Framed walls most often have three or more separate components: the structural elements (such as 2×4 studs in a house wall), insulation, and finish elements or surfaces (such as drywall or panelling). Mass-walls are of a solid material including masonry, concrete including slipform stonemasonry, log building, cordwood construction, adobe, rammed earth, cob, earthbag construction, bottles, tin cans, straw-bale construction, and ice.
A roof is the top covering of a building, including all materials and constructions necessary to support it on the walls of the building or on uprights; it provides protection against rain, snow, sunlight, extremes of temperature, and wind. A roof is part of the building envelope.
A floor is the bottom surface of a room or vehicle. Floors vary from simple dirt in a cave to many-layered surfaces modern technology. Floors may be stone, wood, bamboo, metal or any other material that can support the expected load.
A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that covers the upper limits of a room. It is not generally considered a structural element, but a finished surface concealing the underside of the roof structure or the floor of a story above. Ceilings can be decorated to taste, and there are many fine examples of frescoes and artwork on ceilings especially in religious buildings.
There are three basic methods walls control water intrusion: moisture storage, drained cladding, or face-sealed cladding.Moisture storage is typical of stone and brick mass-wall buildings where moisture is absorbed and released by the walls of the structure itself. Drained cladding also known as screened walls acknowledges moisture will penetrate the cladding so a moisture barrier such as housewrap or felt paper inside the cladding provides a second line of defense and sometimes a drainage plane or air gap allows a path for the moisture to drain down through and exit the wall. Sometimes ventilation is provided in addition to the drainage plane such as in rainscreen construction. Face-sealed also called barrier wall or perfect barrier cladding relies on maintaining a leak-free surface of the cladding. Examples of face sealed cladding are the early exterior insulation finishing systems, structural glazing, metal clad panels, and corrugated metal.
Housewrap generally denotes a synthetic material used to protect buildings. Housewrap functions as a weather-resistant barrier, preventing rain from getting into the wall assembly while allowing water vapor to pass to the exterior. If moisture from either direction is allowed to build up within stud or cavity walls, mold and rot can set in and fiberglass or cellulose insulation will lose its R-value due to heat-conducting moisture. House wrap may also serve as an air barrier if it is sealed carefully at seams.
A rainscreen is an exterior wall detail where the siding stands off from the moisture-resistant surface of an air barrier applied to the sheathing (sheeting) to create a capillary break and to allow drainage and evaporation. The rain screen is the siding itself but the term rainscreen implies a system of building. Ideally the rain screen prevents the wall air/moisture barrier on sheathing from getting wet. In some cases a rainscreen wall is called a pressure-equalized rainscreen wall where the ventilation openings are large enough for the air pressure to nearly equalize on both sides of the rain screen, but this name has been criticized as being redundant and is only useful to scientists and engineers.
Exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is a general class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provides exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant, finished surface in an integrated composite material system. In Europe, systems similar to EIFS are known as External Wall Insulation System (EWIS) and External Thermal Insulation Cladding System (ETICS).
Building walls frequently become works of art, externally and internally, such as when featuring mosaic work or when murals are painted on them; or as design foci when they exhibit textures or painted finishes for effect.
A mosaic is a piece of art or image made from the assembling of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It is often used in decorative art or as interior decoration. Most mosaics are made of small, flat, roughly square, pieces of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae. Some, especially floor mosaics, are made of small rounded pieces of stone, and called "pebble mosaics".
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.
In architecture and civil engineering, curtain wall refers to a building facade that is not load-bearing but provides decoration, finish, front, face, or historical preservation.
Precast walls are walls which have been preassembled in a factory, and then shipped to where it is needed, ready to install. It is faster to install compared to brick and other walls, and may have a lower cost compared to other types of wall.
Mullion walls are a structural system that carries the load of the floor slab on prefabricated panels around the perimeter.
A partition wall is a usually thin wall that is used to separate or divide a room, primarily a pre-existing one. Partition walls are usually not load-bearing, and can be constructed out of many materials, including steel panels, bricks, cloth, plastic, plasterboard, wood, blocks of clay, terra-cotta, concrete, and glass.
Some partition walls are made of sheet glass. Glass partition walls are a series of individual toughened glass panels mounted in wood or metal framing. They may be suspended from or slide along a robust aluminium ceiling track.The system does not require the use of a floor guide, which allows easy operation and an uninterrupted threshold.
A timber partition consists of a wooden framework, supported on the floor or by side walls. Metal lath and plaster, properly laid, forms a reinforced partition wall. Partition walls constructed from fibre cement backer board are popular as bases for tiling in kitchens or in wet areas like bathrooms. Galvanized sheet fixed to wooden or steel members are mostly adopted in works of temporary character. Plain or reinforced partition walls may also be constructed from concrete, including pre-cast concrete blocks. Metal framed partitioning is also available. This partition consists of track (used primarily at the base and head of the partition) and studs (vertical sections fixed into the track typically spaced at 24", 16", or at 12").
Internal wall partitions, also known as office partitioning, are usually made of plasterboard (drywall) or varieties of glass. Toughened glass is a common option, as low-iron glass (better known as opti-white glass) increases light and solar heat transmission.
Wall partitions are constructed using beads and tracking that is either hung from the ceiling or fixed into the ground.The panels are inserted into the tracking and fixed. Some wall partition variations specify their fire resistance and acoustic performance rating.
Movable partitions are walls that open to join two or more rooms into one large floor area. These include:
Party walls are walls that separate buildings or units within a building. They provide fire resistance and sound resistance between occupants in a building. The minimum fire resistance and sound resistance required for the party wall is determined by a building code and may be modified to suit a variety of situations. Ownership of such walls can become a legal issue. It is not a load-bearing wall and may be owned by different people.
An infill wall is the supported wall that closes the perimeter of a building constructed with a three-dimensional framework structure.
Fire walls resist spread of fire within or sometimes between structures to provide passive fire protection. A delay in the spread of fire gives occupants more time to escape and fire fighters more time to extinguish the fire. Such walls have no windows, and are made of non-combustible material such as concrete, cement block, brick, or fire rated drywall—and have wall penetrations sealed with special materials. A doorway in a firewall must have a rated fire door. Fire walls provide varying resistance to the spread of fire, some intended to last one to four hours. Firewalls, generally, can also act as smoke barriers when constructed vertically from slab to roof deck and horizontally from an exterior wall to exterior wall subdividing a building into sections. When constructed in this manner the fire wall can also be referred to as an Area Separation Wall.
Shear walls resist lateral forces such as in an earthquake or severe wind. There are different kinds of shear walls such as the steel plate shear wall.
Knee walls are short walls that either support rafters or add height in the top floor rooms of houses. In a 1 1⁄2-story house, the knee wall supports the half story.
Cavity walls are walls made with a space between two "skins" to inhibit heat transfer.
Pony wall (or dwarf wall) is a general term for short walls, such as:
A trombe wall in passive solar building design acts as a heat sink.
On a ship, a wall that separates major compartments is called a bulkhead . A thinner wall between cabins is called a partition.
Boundary walls include privacy walls, boundary-marking walls on property, and town walls. These intergrade into fences. The conventional differentiation is that a fence is of minimal thickness and often open in nature, while a wall is usually more than a nominal thickness and is completely closed, or opaque. More to the point, an exterior structure of wood or wire is generally called a fence—but one of masonry is a wall. A common term for both is barrier, which is convenient for structures that are partly wall and partly fence—for example the Berlin Wall. Another kind of wall-fence ambiguity is the ha-ha—which is set below ground level to protect a view, yet acts as a barrier (to cattle, for example).
Before the invention of artillery, many of the world's cities and towns, particularly in Europe and Asia, had defensive or protective walls (also called town walls or city walls). In fact, the English word "wall" derives from Latin vallum —a type of fortification wall. These walls are no longer relevant for defense, so such cities have grown beyond their walls, and many fortification walls, or portions of them, have been torn down—for example in Rome, Italy and Beijing, China. Examples of protective walls on a much larger scale include the Great Wall of China and Hadrian's Wall.
Some walls formally mark the border between one population and another. A border wall is constructed to limit the movement of people across a certain line or border. These structures vary in placement with regard to international borders and topography. The most famous example of border barrier in history is probably the Great Wall of China, a series of walls that separated the Empire of China from nomadic powers to the north. The most prominent recent example is the Berlin Wall, which surrounded the enclave of West Berlin and separated it from East Germany for most of the Cold War era.
The US-Mexico border wall, separating the United States and Mexico, is another recent example.
In areas of rocky soils around the world, farmers have often pulled large quantities of stone out of their fields to make farming easier and have stacked those stones to make walls that either mark the field boundary, or the property boundary, or both.
Retaining walls resist movement of earth, stone, or water. They may be part of a building or external. The ground surface or water on one side of a retaining wall is typically higher than on the other side. A dike is a retaining wall, as is a levee, a load-bearing foundation wall, and a sea wall.
Special laws often govern walls that neighbouring properties share. Typically, one neighbour cannot alter the common wall if it is likely to affect the building or property on the other side. A wall may also separate apartment or hotel rooms from each other. Each wall has two sides and breaking a wall on one side will break the wall on the other side.
Portable walls, such as room dividers or portable partitions divide a larger open space into smaller rooms. Portable walls can be static, such as cubicle walls, or can be wall panels mounted on casters to provide an easy way to reconfigure assembly space. They are often found inside schools, churches, convention centers, hotels, and corporate facilities.
A temporary wall is constructed for easy removal or demolition. A typical temporary wall can be constructed with 1⁄2" (6 mm) to 5⁄8" (16 mm) sheet rock (plasterboard), metal 2 × 3s (approx. 5 × 7 cm), or 2 × 4s, or taped, plastered and compounded. Most installation companies use lattice (strips of wood) to cover the joints of the temporary wall with the ceiling. These are sometimes known as pressurized walls or temporary pressurized walls.
Walls are often seen in popular culture, representing barriers preventing progress or entry. For example, the progressive/psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd used a metaphorical wall to represent the isolation felt by the protagonist of their 1979 concept album The Wall . American poet laureate Robert Frost describes a pointless rock wall as a metaphor for the myopia of the culture-bound in his poem "Mending Wall", published in 1914. In a real-life example, the Berlin Wall, constructed by the Soviet Union to divide Berlin into NATO and Warsaw Pact zones of occupation, became a worldwide symbol of oppression and isolation.
In some cases, a wall may refer to an individual's debilitating mental or physical condition, seen as an impassable barrier.
Another common usage is as a communal surface to write upon. For instance the social networking site Facebook previously used an electronic "wall" to log the scrawls of friends until it was replaced by the "timeline" feature.
A firewall is a fire-resistant barrier used to prevent the spread of fire for a prescribed period of time. Firewalls are built between or through buildings, structures, electrical substation transformers, or within an aircraft or vehicle.
A curtain wall system is an outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are non-structural, utilized to keep the weather out and the occupants in. Since the curtain wall is non-structural, it can be made of lightweight materials, thereby reducing construction costs. When glass is used as the curtain wall, an advantage is that natural light can penetrate deeper within the building. The curtain wall façade does not carry any structural load from the building other than its own dead load weight. The wall transfers lateral wind loads that are incident upon it to the main building structure through connections at floors or columns of the building. A curtain wall is designed to resist air and water infiltration, absorb sway induced by wind and seismic forces acting on the building, withstand wind loads, and support its own dead load weight forces.
Prefabrication is the practice of assembling components of a structure in a factory or other manufacturing site, and transporting complete assemblies or sub-assemblies to the construction site where the structure is to be located. The term is used to distinguish this process from the more conventional construction practice of transporting the basic materials to the construction site where all assembly is carried out.
Framing, in construction, is the fitting together of pieces to give a structure support and shape. Framing materials are usually wood, engineered wood, or structural steel. The alternative to framed construction is generally called mass wall construction, where horizontal layers of stacked materials such as log building, masonry, rammed earth, adobe, etc. are used without framing.
The Canterbury railway station is a heritage-listed railway station located on the Bankstown line at Canterbury in the Canterbury-Bankstown Council local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The station is served by Sydney Trains T3 Bankstown line services. The station was designed by New South Wales Government Railways and built from 1895 to 1915 by J. J. Scouller. It is also known as Canterbury Railway Station group. The property is owned by RailCorp. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
Steel frame is a building technique with a "skeleton frame" of vertical steel columns and horizontal I-beams, constructed in a rectangular grid to support the floors, roof and walls of a building which are all attached to the frame. The development of this technique made the construction of the skyscraper possible.
Brisbane Showgrounds is located at 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and was established in 1875. It hosts almost 300 events each year, with the largest being the Royal Queensland Show (Ekka).
Precast concrete is a construction product produced by casting concrete in a reusable mold or "form" which is then cured in a controlled environment, transported to the construction site and lifted into place. In contrast, standard concrete is poured into site-specific forms and cured on site. Precast stone is distinguished from precast concrete using a fine aggregate in the mixture, so the final product approaches the appearance of naturally occurring rock or stone. More recently expanded polystyrene is being used as the cores to precast wall panels. This is lightweight and has better thermal insulation.
Any stone used as decorative facing material that is not meant to be load bearing.
Damp proofing in construction is a type of moisture control applied to building walls and floors to prevent moisture from passing into the interior spaces. Dampness problems are among the most frequent problems encountered in residences.
Glass fiber reinforced concrete or GFRC is a type of fiber-reinforced concrete. The product is also known as glassfibre reinforced concrete or GRC in British English. Glass fiber concretes are mainly used in exterior building façade panels and as architectural precast concrete. Somewhat similar materials are fiber cement siding and cement boards.
Norman Park State School is a heritage-listed state school at 68-88 Agnew Street, Norman Park, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Department of Public Works (Queensland) and built in 1900. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 7 April 2017.
Studcast concrete, also called "pre-framed concrete", combines relatively thin concrete layers with cold formed steel framing to create hybrid panels; the result is a panelized system usable for cladding, curtain walls, shaft walls, and load-bearing exterior and interior walls. Studcast panels install in the same manner as prefabricated steel stud panels. The technology is applicable for both factory prefabrication and site-cast (tilt-up) wall construction on almost all types of buildings, including multifamily housing, schools, industrial, commercial and institutional structures.
Prefabs were a major part of the delivery plan to address the United Kingdom's post–Second World War housing shortage. They were envisaged by war-time prime minister Winston Churchill in March 1944, and legally outlined in the Housing Act 1944.
Rockhampton Courthouse is a heritage-listed courthouse at 42 East Street, Rockhampton, Rockhampton Region, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by John Hitch and built from 1950 to 1955. It is also known as District Court, Queensland Government Savings Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Magistrate's Court, Police Court, and Supreme Court. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.
Cannon Hill State School is a heritage-listed state school at 845 Wynnum Road, Cannon Hill, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 12 June 2015.
Indooroopilly State High School Buildings is a heritage-listed collection of buildings at Indooroopilly State High School at Ward Street, Indooroopilly, City of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Boulton & Paul Ltd, Department of Public Works (Queensland) and built from 1953 to 1963. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 14 October 2016.
Muswellbrook Post Office is a heritage-listed post office at 7 Bridge Street, Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia. It was added to the Australian Commonwealth Heritage List on 08 November 2011.
Liner House is a heritage-listed office building located at 13-15 Bridge Street, in the Sydney central business district, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Bunning and Madden and built from 1959 to 1960. It is also known as Moran House. It houses a restaurant and the Moran Arts Foundation on its lower floors. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999. The building was awarded the Sir John Sulman Medal in 1961.
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