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Architecture Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Architecture, an art and science, shapes our living spaces. With a rich history of captivating stories and hidden gems, it holds lesser-known surprises alongside famous structures. Discover intriguing architecture facts, from ancient wonders to modern marvels, showcasing design, innovation, and culture.

First Architect in History

Despite his nonroyal origins, Imhotep’s remarkable array of skills and extensive knowledge elevated him to a position of divinity in Egyptian society. His diverse talents encompassed roles as a sage, astrologer, chief minister to Egypt’s second king of the third dynasty, pyramid inventor, custodian of ancient wisdom, architect, high priest, physician, astronomer, sculptor, carpenter, and writer.

Figurine of Imhotep, British Museum
Figurine of Imhotep, British Museum

So why is it called “Blueprint”?

Architectural drawings find their roots in ancient Egypt, handcrafted. As technology evolved during the Industrial Revolution, architects adapted to digital design and printing. In 1842, British astronomer Sir John Hershel uncovered the blueprint process chemistry—translucent drawings on chemically coated paper, UV light exposure, followed by ammonia gas. Shaded areas stay white, contrasting with the paper’s blue backdrop.

1920, Front elevation of the Empress Theatre in Montreal, Alcide Chaussé, encore sustainable architects
1920, Front elevation of the Empress Theatre in Montreal, Alcide Chaussé, encore sustainable architects

Origins of the word “Skyscraper”

In the present day, the term “skyscraper” is exclusively employed to denote tall buildings. In earlier times, this term was used for anything impressive in height, like a tall person, a high horse, a raised sail, and more—all referred to as skyscrapers. The earliest known use was in The Chicago Daily on February 25, 1883, in a section called “The High-building Craze,” with the subtitle “Our skyscrapers.” 

Home Insurance Building, first known skyscraper in the world, Wikipedia
Home Insurance Building, first known skyscraper in the world, Wikipedia

The “Statue of Liberty” Almost Didn’t Happen

During a certain period, the project could have been completely stopped. France was in charge of making the 305-foot sculpture and sending it to America. At the same time, Congress had difficulty agreeing on how to spend money because there wasn’t much budget left. Joseph Pulitzer renewed people’s interest in the statue by writing about it in his newspaper.

The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty

The Oldest Known Bridge in the World

Bridges were initially constructed using natural materials like logs over streams or rivers, and stones positioned in riverbeds. The oldest known bridge is the “Arkadiko Bridge,” also referred to as the “Kazarma Bridge,” which originates from the Mycenaean era. This ancient bridge is situated in the southern area of mainland Greece, specifically on the Peloponnesian peninsula. 

Arkadiko Bridge, Wikipedia
Arkadiko Bridge, Wikipedia

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