Masonry arches have been constructed around the world for millennia, from the ancient round arches of Egypt and China, to semi-circular Roman and pointed Gothic ones found in Medieval European cathedrals. The first recorded brick arch is believed to have been constructed in Ur in Mesopotamia circa 1400 BC, making the structural form one of the oldest.
For more than a century, the Dingle Memorial Tower overlooking the panoramic landscape of Halifax’s Northwest Arm has been a popular destination for not only the local community, but also countless visitors from beyond. In 1908, Sir Sandford Fleming donated to Haligonians the 38.5-ha (95-acre) Dingle Park, which gets its name from an Old English word meaning ‘wooded dell or valley.’ He proposed a monument should be erected there to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first elected government in the British Empire (outside the Mother Country), which had taken place in Nova Scotia in 1758.
The restoration of the Lieutenant F. Campbell, VC, Barracks in Meaford, Ont., required brick façade replacement to its military residence. The owner, Canadian Department of National Defense (DND), identified masonry deterioration due to the spalling of brick at the base of foundations and at lintels over most windows. The primary reason for this situation was the through wall flashings had failed to provide effective drainage from the cavity.
An important part of many Canadian project teams, the masonry industry is a proud group that builds durable structures using time-honoured techniques that have spanned generations. Discipline and mentoring are the keys to learning the ‘laws’ that make up this complex trade.
Specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, installers, and craftworkers all have something valuable to offer to the conversation when it comes to creating high-performing building enclosures. While people have to be sensitive to contractual relationships, they should also strive to create an environment that encourages open dialogue between all parties.
For thousands of years, masonry has been the building material of choice in many regions, with an infinite number of possibilities of pattern and form. Brick and stone are durable materials that never go out of fashion; they have been used to construct castles and cathedrals, pyramids and great walls, schools and museums, hospitals and high-rises, bridges, roads, and fences.
Although contractors and designers have separate functions in the construction process, it is important that each understand the role of the other to ensure the timely completion of work. This is especially true when industry volumes increase and designs become more complex, as they have in Manitoba in recent years. During the past three years, Manitoba’s masonry industry has experienced a strong demand for its services in both the industrial/commercial sectors and in multi-family dwelling construction.