February 16, 2018
Granite has been used in construction for thousands of years due to its fantastic durability and often astounding beauty. As such, you probably encounter granite every day, whether it be in your kitchen countertops, the pavements you cross on your way to work, the monuments that decorate your city, and even the buildings you find yourself in every day. In fact, some of the most famous sources of art and architecture are also fantastic uses of granite.
The Great Pyramid of Giza found in Egypt is made in part from granite bricks. Being the oldest and the largest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, its granite foundation is a testament to the durability of the stone. The granite stones used in the King’s Chamber of the pyramid were sourced from over 500 miles away, which was no easy feat of transportation when the pyramid was constructed over 4000 years ago, and this hints at the desirability of the stone itself.
Millennia have passed since the pyramids were erected, and the use of granite in construction has not fallen out of fashion. Additionally, it is one of the few stones durable enough to withstand the elements, making it a popular choice for monuments and important buildings. One of the most incredible granite monuments is Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and the carvings of four great U.S. presidents makes it one of the most recognizable structures in the country. Being that it was carved directly into the face of a granite mountain also makes it one of the few instances where granite did not need to be sourced from elsewhere. This is not the only use of awe inspiring granite; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. composed entirely of black Indian Granite sparks a feeling of gravity that could not be provoked by any other rock.
Those architects tasked with designing our nation’s most important buildings frequently utilize granite to incite a feeling of strength and importance. Since the mid-1800s, granite has been quarried in the U.S. to be used in nearly all government buildings up until World War I, and this is well exemplified by the façade and columns of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington D.C. Beautiful museums such as Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution also utilize granite in the trims and entrance steps, as if to highlight the importance of the contents held within their walls.
While granite has historically been used to dignify importance, strength, and durability, as exhibited by the buildings and monuments constructed from the material, it is certainly not inaccessible to everyone who desires it. In fact, its durability and remarkable beauty translates wonderfully to something as common as the kitchen countertop. Using a granite countertop means taking part in a tradition that likely predates the Ancient Egyptians, and like the pyramids, it is something that will last for many years to come.