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Rachel Nam
Architecture B-Days
Activity 1.1.1 History of Civil
Engineering and Architecture
Introduction
Can you name any of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Each was a feat of
civil engineering and architecture. What causes structures such as these to fill us
with awe even today? What is it that makes them seem more wondrous in our time
of modernization? These structures have paved the way for many new advances in
the design of the structures you see today.
In this activity you will learn about the history of civil engineering and architecture.
You will see differences between the two professions and learn of their beginnings.
Equipment

History of Civil Engineering and Architecture presentation
Procedure
In this activity you will investigate the history of civil engineering and architecture.
You will see differences between the two professions and learn of their beginnings.
1. Define civil engineering.
Civil engineering is when an engineer is trained in the design and construction of public
works like bridges and other large works.
2. Define architecture.
Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings for human habitation.
3. Describe the origination of the concept of architecture?
Architecture originated in an area where people began to live in constructed dwellings
and communities. The center of ideas for architecture was originally mainly food.
4. In ancient times how were building materials chosen?
Building materials were chosen by the regional areas of each architectural project. The
climate of the area and the surroundings had a great effect on the design and structure
for each building.
5. Give two examples of vernacular architecture.
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CEA – Unit 1 – Lesson 1.1 – Activity 1.1.1 – History Civil Engineering and Architecture– Page 1
Two examples of vernacular architecture would be an igloo or an African Hut.
Vernacular architecture is a term used to categorize methods of construction that use
resources around the area the building is being made. An igloo uses its surroundings of
ice and snow and the African Hut uses sticks and stones to create the home.
6. Name and describe the type of system used to create many early buildings.
In order to make early buildings, the people would often use what was easily available
to them and use the climate of the region towards their advantage.
7. What was the purpose of the Egyptian pyramids? Mexican pyramids?
The purpose of the Egyptian pyramids was to house the tombs of the pharaohs
whereas the Mexican pyramids were built for astronomical purposes.
8. What kind of construction method was used to build the Parthenon? Made a
simple sketch to illustrate.
The Parthenon is an example of the post-and-lintel construction method. This is
basically the usage of horizontal beams placed across vertical columns.
9. What problem in architecture led to this form of construction?
In order for doors and windows to open without sacrificing support, the Romans created
this form of construction to make an “early frame system.”
10. Explain how an arch is created.
The arch was created by the Romans in order to overcome the limitations from the postand-lintel construction method. As arch is physically made with lighter blocks of stones
and are placed in a curved formation to give each other support.
11. How is the vault used in civil engineering?
A vault is a series of arches that form a continuous arched covering/roof. These vaults
were used for the construction of bridges and passageways.
12. Give an example of an arch and dome system.
The White house can be seen as an example that contains both the arch and dome
system inside the building.
13. Give an example of a modern material we have that was not available to the
ancients. How did this restrict construction in ancient times?
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CEA – Unit 1 – Lesson 1.1 – Activity 1.1.1 – History Civil Engineering and Architecture– Page 2
14. What was the purpose of the Roman aqueducts?
The Roman aqueducts were built to transport fresh water to supply Rome. The need for
water was great due to the great population and the need for agricultural construction.
15. Compare ancient Greek roads to ancient Roman roads.
The Roman roads can be seen as more advanced and safe when compared to the
Greek roads. No one was able to compare to the road system that existed in the Roman
Empire.
16. Describe an ancient Roman bridge.
A popular ancient Roman bridge is the Pons Sublicius in Rome. This bridge was made
out of wood and constructed using columns and the pile-and-lather construction
method.
17. How did building materials and methods change after the Romans?
After the Romans, the building materials and methods used now can be viewed as more
advanced and sturdy to work with. For example, the concrete mixture that was used by
Romans was very weak in tension and bending. Additionally, instead of using iron, steel
can be seen as more effective as it is lighter and easier to deal with.
Conclusion
1. Give an example of a modern pyramid not shown in the presentation. How does
its function differ from that of the Egyptian pyramids? What do you think accounts
for this difference?
A modern pyramid can be the Louvre pyramid in Paris. Egyptian pyramids were used as
an area to keep tombs of pharaohs. However, this modern pyramid is used for the
entrance of a museum and signifies as a landmark for Paris.
2. Give an example of a modern structure that uses an arch and dome system.
A modern structure that uses an arch and dome system would be the white house in
Washington DC. Not only does this building uses arch and domes like the Romans but
also inherited the famous pillars in the structure as well.
3. What is the main purpose of modern roads? How is the cost of modern roadways
defrayed?
The main purpose of modern roads is to keep an orderly way to allow cars and people
to travel and to have the least amount of accidents possible.
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Copyright 2010
CEA – Unit 1 – Lesson 1.1 – Activity 1.1.1 – History Civil Engineering and Architecture– Page 3