Structure supported mainly by a skeleton, or frame, of wood, steel, or reinforced concrete rather than by load-bearing walls. Rigid frames have fixed joints that enable the frames to resist lateral forces; other frames require diagonal bracing or shear walls and diaphragms for lateral stability. Heavy timber framing was the most common type of construction in East Asia and northern Europe from prehistoric times to the mid-19th century. It was supplanted by the balloon frame and the platform frame (see light-frame construction). Steel's strength, when used in steel framing, made possible buildings with longer spans. Concrete frames impart greater rigidity and continuity; various advancements, such as the introduction of the shear wall and slipforming, have made concrete a serious competitor with steel in high-rise structures.
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