Concrete as a building material was already used in ancient Rome, but both its proper development, and the development of concrete structures took place only in the second half of the 19th century., when the industrial production of artificial cement was launched.
The concept of concrete structures should be understood as structures made of unreinforced concrete, concrete with ordinary reinforcement, called reinforced concrete, and concrete with high-quality reinforcement, called prestressed concrete.
In the period of approx. 100 years - compared to the period of development of stone structures, brick or wood - there has been a rapid development of concrete structures, which are used in all areas of construction: civil and water construction, both above-ground, and underground.
Depending on the method of execution, monolithic concrete structures are distinguished, prefabricated and monolithic-prefabricated concrete structures (complex). Concrete can be used to make various structural elements and building systems of almost any shape and rich architectural forms.
Monolithic reinforced concrete structures are mainly used in such engineering structures, like bridges, water dams, tanks, tall buildings etc., while in residential and industrial hall construction, reinforced concrete prefabricated structures are widely used. Prestressed concrete is used in many areas of construction in the form of prestressed concrete and post-tensioned concrete, mainly in bridge construction in the crossings of industrial halls, i.e.. tam, where there are high loads and large spans of structural elements.
The load-bearing structures of residential buildings can be longwall, skeletal or longwall-skeletal. In industrial hall construction, skeletal structures are usually used.
At the end of the 18th century. Cast iron was first used in construction, and then steel. The introduction of steel to construction has resulted in significant changes in the methods of constructing elements and building systems. The first solutions of steel structures were modeled on the shapes of wooden structures used at that time, stone and brick. Steel structures have been widely used in the construction of bridges from the very beginning, exhibition pavilions, railway stations etc..
At the end of the 19th century. there was a dynamic development of high-rise construction. The tallest buildings in the world to date are of steel construction. The figure below shows some of the tallest buildings and structures constructed in concrete or steel. The development of structures of ever greater spans and heights is possible thanks to the use of concrete and high-strength steel.
Comparison of the height of some buildings and structures: 1 - Marriott LOT Passenger Service Center in Warsaw, 2 - Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, 3 - Eiffel Tower in Paris, 4 – Berlin tv tower, 5 - Empire State Building in New York, 6 - World Trade Center in New York, 7 — Sears Tower w Chicago, 8 - Moscow TV tower, 9 - Toronto television tower.