Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Granite - an outward sign of inner corruption

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The use of granite as a building material is...

(unless you live in Aberdeen)

http://sc.theimagefile.co.uk/v/tp/280/310/900547619_4_Aberdeen-Marischal-College-SO275065JHP.jpg

...a reliable sign of advanced corruption - of terminal phase political correctness.

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(Unless you live in Aberdeen)

http://www.odd-scotland.com/images/AberdeenGraniteStreet.jpg

...there is no reason to use granite for any reason except for making the edge between pavements (sidewalks) and the road.

http://www.heritageconnectlincoln.com/imgGallery/big_2008_Anchor_St.JPG

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Granite is ugly.

(Unless you live in Aberdeen -

http://ssa.nls.uk/assets/images/about_us/full/2225.jpg

...and even then it only looks good during clear bright weather - the rest of the time it looks like concrete breeze blocks:

http://www.wickes.co.uk/aerated-blocks/invt/213632/

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Granite is very difficult to work. Essentially it is much too hard.

I watched a builder spend a whole day drilling one hole in a granite block - to insert a railing post -and even then he managed to break the edge of the hole, which then needed an ugly cement patch. 

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Granite is expensive.

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So, there is no reason to build with granite - especially in a city (like most English ones) built mostly from sandstone or limestone.

Unless you anticipate the structure standing for more than a couple of hundred years - when I suppose the sandstone or limestone might become eroded.

On the other hand, eroded stone can be very beautiful:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/193/476944895_9432aecbdc.jpg

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Naturally - since granite is slow to work, inefficient, expensive and ugly - it has for more than a decade been the favoured building material for universities, churches, local government and the houses of wealthy public sector employees.

http://www.granitecountertops-michigan.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/granite_countertops.jpg

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14 comments:

JP said...

Should I feel bad about my kitchen countertops? :-)

bgc said...

@JP - Yes. But if you sincerely repent, you will be forgiven...

The Crow said...

Granite!
The new Bete Noir!
At last: something tangible to despise:)

bgc said...

@ Crow. Indeed. All commenters to this blog will be required to renounce granite and all its works...

Daniel said...

Different materials have different uses. A grand cathedral on the scale of Chartres, but built of pine, would be easier to construct but also not last nearly as long. But pine is a great choice for a book case. Ceramic tile is great in the bathroom, but not so nice for the interior walls of your bedroom. Aluminum makes a great flagpole, and a terrible flooring.

Kitchen counter-tops are a great place for granite. It's out of my price range but, highly polished and solid, they are easy to clean and easy to cut against with a knife. But can you imagine sleeping every night in a room with granite walls??? Limestone might not be as warm as cedar... but I'd take limestone walls in my bed chamber over granite any day.

Of course my actual bedroom has plaster board and dry wall. Ah me... to be medieval.

dearieme said...

I spent a summer once working just outside Aberdeen. I thought the city and its hinterland very attractive. I can't vouch for what it's like in winter.

bgc said...

@ Daniel. Work surfaces. Oak? - yes! Marble? - yes!; Granite? - no...

The Crow said...

I don't own a single shard of granite. See how excellent I am?
It's hard to believe that somebody here uses a knife on a granite surface. That knife is going to be so dull.
Somebody should take this anti-granite thing and really run with it. That would be really avante-garde.
Replace it with papier-mache, or something similar. What a wonderful world it would be...

Daniel said...

Mr. Charlton,

Ha ha... of course you are right. My brain slipped, apparently, and when I was describing a granite countertop, I was actually holding in my head the image of a polished marble countertop.

Brett Stevens said...

Here in the USA, granite countertops are all the rage.

I think granite is popular because it's an egalitarian version of marble.

bgc said...

@Brett - *pseudo*-egalitarian: it is much harder to work granite than marble - and in parts of Europe 'everybody' has marble work tops.

Brett Stevens said...

@bgc: Granite as a building material is definitely "pseudo" in every way.

I hope I did this commenting format correctly. Reminds me of Twitter, but I'll get over it.

Gexton said...

Great post, but I think it would be a stronger post if you listed both advantages and disadvantages and show how the pros outweighs the cons.
granite edmonton
granite countertops edmonton

Bruce Charlton said...

@Gexton - but they don't!