In terms of current design trends, “Bluestone” has a certain cache that is hard to dispute. Please note my use of quotations marks around the word. There are a few good reasons for this and let’s take a look at them before we continue with Bluestone in Architecture.
First, the term is a commercial label and not a geological one. In fact, our pals at the ubiquitous Wikipedia say that “there at least 20 different rock types” represented at the legendary Stonehenge site. All are loosely referred to as bluestone.
Second, we have the geography of the issue. For example, in Australia, and that part of the world in general, bluestone is usually basalt in geological terms. Basalt is, for our better understanding, the predominant stone on the ocean floors. Below, see the use of a bluestone in achitecture as an exterior building component in an Australian church.
Going along with the geography theme, the product we might know as bluestone in the United States is typically quarried in the Northeast. The Pennsylvania and New York versions are considered to be a sandstone, as told to us by the Pennsylvania Bluestone Association. The Virginia iteration, is known to be a limestone and is primarily quarried in the western part of that state. The Jacob Lieby Farm in Berks County, Pennsylvania,is shown below, as an example of the former.
Perhaps the most pleasing of all the the bluestone geographical variations is the Italian version, as shown at the of this post, in the Laurentian Library in Florence.
With the above as background, bluestone serves the design community and final consumers of stone in many ways:
Color: Given the name, this stone delivers a pleasing aesthetic that allows for a blue-gray range with a timeless quality.
Durability: If the opening portions of this post offer nothing else, the time proven worthiness of bluestone is in ample evidence.
Flexibility in Form: Bluestone can be an interior flooring in tile form, an exterior cladding in slab form, an exterior paving material in irregular shapes and thicknesses, and a boulder used as a boundary wall. To name only a few.
Flexibility in Finish: Think of honed, semi polished, flamed, grooved, etc. I am sure to have left out a few more.
In conclusion, we hope it is clear to the reader that bluestone enjoys a rich architectural history. Thanks for reading. I can be reached at 305.986.1046.