Masonry can offer fire-resistant qualities that save homes. The masonry also resists weather and vandalism. Durability and minimal maintenance extend the life of a building, providing a durable, high-quality appearance. Masonry is one of the oldest building materials.
Initially, masonry constructions were simply built by overlaying large rough carved stones, characterized by good mechanical properties, without mortar. Commonly, the masonry fabric of these constructions was disordered due to the irregular shapes of the blocks. However, even with the irregular texture of the masonry, the builders introduced some layers characterized by greater regularity to ensure greater stability of the masonry wall. In other words, ancient builders understood the relevance of fabric for the mechanical behavior of the construction of masonry.
The tidier the texture, the more good mechanical properties the masonry will show. Therefore, the geometric arrangement of stones on a wall plays a key role in the construction's ability to withstand its weight and external loads. The use of artificial bricks was introduced in Mesopotamian times, where rocks characterized by good mechanical properties were not available. Artificial bricks have reduced strength compared to stones, making the arrangement of the texture even more significant.
The arrangement of bricks or blocks in masonry construction also became very important to improve the static behavior of domes and vaults, and over the years very special textures have been developed. Many architects value masonry for its color, scale, texture, pattern, and appearance of permanence. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, masonry has other desirable properties, such as its value for controlling sound, resisting fire and insulating against daily temperature fluctuations. Therefore, it seems that ancient masonry builders were aware that the use of regular masonry with specific textural arrangements can significantly improve the mechanical performance of the construction.
The approach requires a very low computational load, compared to classic non-linear FEM simulations, and allows efficient modeling of large masonry structures, such as churches, monumental buildings or masonry arch bridges.