- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 06 Sep 2018
Types of structure
Within the context of the built environment, the term ‘structure’ refers to anything that is constructed or built from interrelated parts with a fixed location on the ground. This includes buildings, but can refer to any body that is designed to bear loads, even if it is not intended to be occupied by people (engineers sometimes refer to these as 'non-building' structures – such as bridges, tunnels, and so on).
Structures can be classified in a number of ways:
- Aqueducts and viaducts.
- Cooling towers and chimneys.
- Retaining walls.
- Coastal defences.
- One-dimensional: Ropes, cables, struts, columns, beams, arches.
- Two-dimensional: Membranes, plates, slab, shells, vaults.
- Three-dimensional: Solid masses.
- Shell and core.
- Structural frame.
- Wall: loadbearing walls, compartment walls, external walls, retaining walls.
See Elements of structure in buildings for more information.
Overall building form:
- High rise.
- Hyperbolic paraboloid.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Civil engineer.
- Elements of structure in buildings
- Institution of Civil Engineers.
- Institution of Structural Engineers IStructE.
- Structural engineer.
- Structural principles.
- The development of structural membranes.
- Types of beam.
- Types of building.
- Types of column.
- Types of wall.
- Types of structural load.
Featured articles and news
Driven piles are used to support buildings, walls and bridges, and can be the most cost-effective deep foundation solution.
Australian landmark celebrates achievement of carbon neutral status five years ahead of schedule.
Non-material amendments can sometimes be necessary after planning permission has been granted. Find out more here.
Six things civil engineers could do to ensure the success of projects.
Dublin housing crisis restricts employers' ability to recruit, according to new U+I research.
Intricate inlays and beautiful patterns can be created with waterjet cutting.
Two historic quarries in environmentally sensitive areas were reopened to repair Exeter Cathedral.
The phrase ‘time at large’ describes the situation where there is no date for completion, or it has become invalid.
The Maldives is under threat from climate change. Read this report from BRE on their potential involvement in the region.
MHCLG update states there are still 124 private high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding and no remediation plan.