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What Is A Balustrade In Architecture? The History And Components Of The Balustrade

Referencing Styles : APA | Pages : 2

Balustrade is a railing which, the series of balusters supports and are sometimes ornamental parapets and short that are found on balconies and terraces. The posts evenly supports and space the balusters and they can also be used to define the space. Balustrade is the row consist of small columns that is topped by rail and is found lining in many terraces and staircase. The term balustrade has been derived from the constituent post of form which is known as balusters and there are multiple functions of balustrade from serving the purpose of privacy by reducing the possibility of the person cordoning off an area and falling off a stairway. Balustrade is formed by railings of metal, wood, glass and other materials that has been designed to prevent falling from the balconies, stairways, roofs, terraces and other preeminent elements of architecture. This is the gilded balustrade that separate the bed in the chamber of king from the rest of the room at Versailles. The sculptural murals and ancient bas reliefs dating from sometime between 13 and 17th century are the earliest example of the balustrade. Even in today’s world, balustrade is continue to be used in several variety of shapes and materials for the practical as well as decorative purposes from wood posts to elaborating the wrought iron spindles.

It is well known to be featured in Shakespeare, as it has been on the Broadway. It's even had some pretty substantial supporting roles in the Hollywood films, though it’s not actor, one can call it as an architectural element. Suppose, someone is holding the railings in a very graceful manner and tries to descend a set of chairs for their beloved from the top of a balcony then there are probability that of that a balustrade in action is seen. So, one can describe a balustrade as a series of relatively short posts which is found to support a railing, particularly on the staircase, a porch or any balcony. In someone’s mind it, might appear to be a minor architectural feature, thereby it can be said that at various points throughout history this functional element any other element of decoration has been show stealer.

It can be said that something that is made up of a series of columns is often termed as colonnade. Also, thereby it can be said that a balustrade is a complete feature which is made up of a combination of the individual parts. The parts which, are used for making the blocks of colonnade is often termed as the balusters. A baluster can be defined as the small pillar or any post or column. Consequently, it can be said that when there is a line of balusters in order to support a railing or any balcony, they tend to form a balustrade.  One should also mention few other  components of the balustrade, the handrail is the horizontal lintel like structure , some balustrade also contains a secondary horizontal element, which is found below the balusters, and thereby it can be called as the foot rail. The word banister comes the term balustrades, where a banister is something which is especially designed to attach to the staircase. One can easily plot the difference in between the banister and balustrade, the term balustrade can be also changed and termed as the baluster as they are both found to possess the same meaning.

There are two types of balustrades that is interior balustrade and exterior balustrade with the latter more susceptible to the deterioration and decay compared to former. Some of the ways to preserve the balustrade are installation, manufacturing, proper designing and regular maintenance. Balustrade according to the US General Service administration is defined by its components that consists of balusters, handrail and foot trial.  Joining of foot trail and hand rail are done at the end to a post or column and the rails are connected with such vertical members. Furthermore, there are a number of reasons associated with the deterioration of the wooden balustrade such as butt joints that are prone to moisture and exposed end grains that results from the process of manufacturing. The key to continuous preservation and care of balustrade is maintenance and regular inspection and all kinds of balustrade being served by the patching, routine cleaning and painting. The components of Balustrade are listed below.

Newel- At the turn of the banister, there is a study vertical post known as newel. Newel being the structural component that extends below the sub floor and floor to the bottom of the joist of the floor and is bolted to the right of the floor. Half of the newel looks like that it is embedded in the wall when visualised.

Handrail- Handrail sometimes referred to as the balusters that is designed so that the hand grasp it for providing support or stability. It is also known by other name such as banister and railing. Often, there are railings on both the sides and sometimes, only one or no railing at all. Handrail materials can be cast iron, stainless steel or aluminium. The usage of handrail comes for preventing injuries while descending or ascending the staircase.

Gooseneck- It is a vertical handrail that helps in joining the slope of the handrail to the landing or balcony with a higher handrail. Gooseneck comes in a variety of sizes and shapes and they are often used on a stairway handrail for changing directions.

Easing- Easing is the typical type of handrail that helps in changing the direction and using the wall brackets, they are mounted on the walls directly. Such railings flair to the horizontal portion and horizontal railing and over easing represents the horizontal portion of the railings at the top of stairs. Up easing on other hand is the element that helps handrail to change the direction to vertical from angular.

Rosette- Rosette might be used for trimming the handrail that is terminating in the wall and there is no usage of half newel. Using rosette, it becomes easy to attach the handrail to the wall as they possess more of an ornamental feature. An additional piece of elegant would be added in detail if balustrade is of traditional style. However, adding of rosette should not be considered if the contemporary and cleaner is preferred.

Turnout- Turnout is a quarter turn that is rounded at the end of the handrail and is regarded as the fashionable way to start the stairway. Volutes are less dramatic than the turnout but they are still considered to be attractive. Right hand and left hand turnout are the two types of turnouts and they are available in the variety of woods such as alder, hickory, poplar, red oak, hard maple and American cherry. There are various uses of turnouts such as it allows continuous flow of handrail, finishing the bottom of the stair railing system and provides a perfect accent of the starter step.

Balusters- Handrail is hold with the help of baluster and sometimes, it is known as spindle and guard. Baluster is made up of wood and stone and of the metals that can be decorative or plain. Often, two balusters are required by the treads and with the second baluster being taller than the first and closer to the riser. The height of the second baluster is in between the elements of decoration on the baluster.

Some of the examples of balustrade are oak and metal staircase, grand oak staircase and glass and stainless steel. Construction and design of balusters must take into consideration the components, durability of materials and geometric constraints that prevent the people from accidentally falling through, under and over the balustrade. There are various components of the part of staircase and balustrade being one of the components that is collective name for base rails, handrails, newer caps, infills and spindles.

The today’s era the balustrade is a very common part of architecture today, thereby combining the function of the above mentioned term handrail with the decorative aspect of the repetitive balusters. It is often wondered on how and from where this idea came from. The ancestor of the balustrade was the colonnade, who is considered to be the ancient Greek and Roman ensembles of columns that also found to be very helpful and also it is found to  add visual harmony and complexity to their buildings and apart from the building the structure and the different components of any particular building in consideration. During the 14th -16th centuries, fast forward a few thousand years into the Italian Renaissance, it can be observed that the medieval era architecture has gone through a sea change and turned into a classical architecture, its major part of fascination was by the geometric, rational designs of the ancient also apart from it, their emulated architectural ideas. The balustrade of classic Renaissance consist of moulded and broad handrail that is supported by a series of miniature columns which are freely adapted form of tradition.


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