This series continues with The Spirit of Architecture – Bluestone, which is the first time that we have featured a material, rather than an architect, a style, a place, or a type of structure. That said, in terms of current design trends, “Bluestone” has a certain appeal that is hard to debate. Please note my use of quotations marks around the word. There are a few good reasons for this. Let’s take a look at them.
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 geography as an 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 floor. Below, take a look at the use of bluestone as an exterior building component on an Australian church.
Going along with the geography theme, the product we typically think of as bluestone in the United States is usually 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 said 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.
In my opinion, the most pleasing of all the the bluestone geographical variations is the Italian version, as shown at the top of this post and the again below, 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: Bluestone can be used as flooring, cladding, exterior paving, and as a boundary wall. To name only a few.
Range of Finishes: 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, and vibrant current acceptance. Thanks for reading.
Please be safe. I can be reached at 305.986.1046.