the meeting together of two or more cultures to create a synthesis of new build- ings. Finally, modern structures like the Empire State Building demonstrate that the sky is quite literally the limit when it comes to the next generation of architecture and engineering. Names of famous architects appear whenever they deserve credit for their creations. As an example, the Danish architect Jørn Utzon designed the unique Sydney Opera House and will forever be associated with that work, even though he did not oversee the completion of the task itself. Yet for many structures, the original architect’s name is forever lost to history. Indeed, some structures see each generation take it upon themselves to improve upon an ancestral design, building spirit houses, mud-brick granaries, or gaucho ranches one span taller or wider each time. Several common threads link every structure found throughout the world. All structures, whether one story high or 100 stories high, must have integrity so that they stay sturdy. They retain aesthetic elements, from “vanity spires” that cause a skyscraper to exaggerate its height to the beautiful calligraphy inscribed throughout many buildings of the Islamic world. Many structures utilize a dome shape to max- imize interior space while minimizing weight and building materials; both the Hagia Sophia of Istanbul and the far more modest St. Mary’s Basilica of New Zealand rely on the simple, practical dome structure. People build structures for a variety of reasons other than simple shelter. Some do it for money, others for faith, and others for pride and artistic achieve- ment. Human structures have grown larger, taller, wider, and more complex over time, and today’s ultramodern skyscrapers will doubtless look puny in comparison to the great architectural achievements of the future. Even so, these futuristic structures may still be no more practical in many parts of the world than simple structures of wood and clay.


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