"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

Home renovation

Building Bold: Using Geologic Materials in Construction

In the history of architecture and engineering, a few standouts incorporate almost all elements of nature: steel, rock, soil, water, and vegetation, to name a few. Some house projects feature granite and other solid materials as part of the main structure or as functional fixtures like a countertop or table. More unique projects even actually use natural rock boulders as part of the house itself.

Boulder in Architecture

Take, for instance, the 3,000 square-foot Laguna Beach Rock House. This one-of-a-kind property was built inside a giant boulder that is sitting on beach sand. It even had a running creek that passed through the site. Due to the extraordinary design and details of the project, it had to undergo a two-year public hearing before approval for construction was given by the government. At one point, the rock house was sold for $8.5 Million.

In Salt Lake City, Utah, there’s a mid-century house that’s now famous for having a rock pile in the basement. It is what some would refer to as “organic architecture,” a style that blends man-made construction with nature’s creation. The pile is an attractive feature and a sure discussion-starter, often making someone say, “Wow! This house is really on the rocks!”

The Wells Family that has a vacation home in Lake Tahoe is also into the all-natural feel combined with contemporary home design. At the center of their 2,600 square-foot house, sits an 18-ton boulder right in the living room. This remarkable feature was even featured on the website, www.mansionglobal.com.

For a typical home builder, such heavy and solid accents may not be what they have in mind. However, many do appreciate having smaller boulders provide character to their sprawling lawns and backyards.

man placing stone flooring

Kinds of Rocks & Stones

There are many types of solid elements to choose from, such as basalt, sandstone, porphyry, clay slate, and of course, marble, limestone, and granite.

The fascination with rock and stone as construction material goes back to time immemorial. Long before the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China were erected, people from ancient times had already been living in caves, cliffs, and other natural formations that protected them from the harsh weather and wild animals. From small geologic items, they fashioned stone hammers, as well as knives and spears made of sharpened rocks.

As a material, rocks and stone are rigid, sturdy, and reliable. Valued for their stability, they are used as pillars and flooring in many ancient temples. For its strength, this material is the choice for castle walls, war fortifications, and bridges for millennia.

Even in cartoon art, the Flintstones entertained young children and adults alike in comedic adventures inside and outside their cave homes and rocky abode.

Back to the present day, people still benefit from these formations that later find themselves in almost every corner of a house, school, hospital, office, and just about any other structure useful to human beings.

Rock & Stone Specialists

Hardly any house or building is built without the use of solid beams, foundation stone, or rectangular columns. Some engineering, architecture, and construction firms even specialize in the use of geologic material.

From excavations to hard-scaping and up to the use of various kinds of rocks — these firms utilize specialized equipment and tools to extract the best of earth’s solid masses. As hand-chiseled, machine-cut structures, or left in their natural form — the use of stones and rocks add an aura of dignity and invincibility to any place. No wonder the forebears of this generation used them for royal palaces and religious monuments.

To benefit from this, many home buyers approach firms that have a long experience in home and engineered wall projects. Taking stock of the company’s history, client roster, portfolio, and staff qualifications become crucial since working with rock and stone affords little room for error. These materials are unlike children’s toy clay set that one can smash, pound, and stretch. Every cut, every engraving, every set of stone or rock must be perfect.

Contracting companies for rock or stonework also entails a review of their industry qualifications, accreditation, or service reputation. Given the nature of this project, companies that have the necessary logistics and transport assets are preferred. Firms that own their heavy industrial equipment, all deemed vital to this niche, are the ones trusted by small home builders as well as corporate clients.

One may have a dream to lay the foundations of a humble home made of geology’s most reliable natural products. Another person might have the vision to embark on a grand scale work that would rival that on Stonehenge in its iconic status, or perhaps a Japanese-style park that uses these earth elements to evoke a sense of tranquility and order.

Whatever the project, big or small, making that structure come to life with elegance and pride only takes a few slabs of marble or tons of granite. Whether the location is a green field, a house, or a high skyscraper, these memorial-like pieces will remain mute attractions for generations to come.

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