If you are looking for a decorative element to create separation or safety in your home or yard, consider installing a balustrade. The fence-like feature provides safety from a drop or fall, without blocking light, air, and visibility. This is the perfect architectural feature to prevent falls, protect a swimming pool, or support a staircase.
What Is a Balustrade?
While many people are uncertain what the term balustrade means, they see them on a regular basis. The word baluster refers to the often narrow vertical posts between a handrail and the floor or stair step. Thus, a balustrade is repeating balusters, and basically equivalent to a railing or decorative fence. A balustrade is most often found along a balcony, terrace, staircase, or bridge to add safety and ornamentation to the structure’s architecture.
Despite the word’s obscurity, balustrades have been part of building and bridge architecture longer than many other modern day features. The balustrade is found in ancient structures around the world. From Rome to rural India, the balustrade has remained popular throughout time, which is a true testament to its usefulness and aesthetics.
How and Why Are Balustrades Constructed?
The oldest balustrades were constructed entirely of carved wood or clay. The handrails and balusters were made of the same material and fitted together to form the balustrade. Over time, stone became an important material for making sturdy and strong balustrades, and one of the time periods most famous for beautiful stone balustrades was the Renaissance in Europe.
Much like today, the traditional balustrades were partly decorative. To meet this purpose, the individual balusters were designed in the shape of flowers and fruits. The term baluster is even derived from the Italian word for pomegranate flower, which from the start denoted this architecture feature as a beautiful part of any design concept.
The balustrade has always served functional purposes as well. The balustrade provided safety by keeping children or distracted adults from wandering off terraces and falling from staircases. As well, the balustrade became a popular place to congregate during social functions and a place to lean during conversation.
What Materials Are Utilised Today?
Balustrades can be made of many different materials. Each material has a different look, style, and unique functionality. A glass balustrade is great for outdoor use. They are streamlined, elegant, and functional. Frequently, steel is used to hold the different planes of glass together, making the balustrade durable and weather-resistant. These balustrades are useful for surrounding a pool, lining an outdoor porch, or for safety along a raised backyard deck.
A wire balustrade also works in an outdoor space because it creates a safe boundary along a deck or patio without obstructing any of the outdoor view. As well, many people are installing wire balustrades throughout their homes. In a wire balustrade, the balusters sometimes run horizontally, not vertically, for a twist on the traditional concept. However, the result is a contemporary and clean design that works with interior design based on modern furniture and metal elements.