rustication, in building construction, method of creating textures upon masonry wall surfaces, chiefly upon those of stone, by projecting the blocks beyond the surface of the mortar joints. Each joint thus lies in a channel or in a V-shaped groove, between adjoining stones, and a separating shadow line is produced. The degree of projection, whether slight or bold, permits varying effects. The Romans occasionally built rusticated walls. This device was used by Renaissance architects in the palace facades at Florence, a favorite treatment being that of a ground floor with stones of strong projection and roughly textured surface, surmounted by upper stories in which both forms were more refined. Often columns and pilasters also were rusticated. The basement story of the Pitti Palace (mid-15th cent.) exhibits a celebrated example of rustication, some of its enormous and roughly quarried blocks of stone projecting as much as 2 ft 6 in. (76.2 cm) beyond the surface of the joints. The garden architecture of the Italian baroque villa shows many grotesquely textured examples. Rustications also appeared frequently in the Georgian style and in American Colonial architecture.

In architecture, decorative masonry achieved by cutting back the edges of stones to a plane surface while leaving the central portion of the face either rough or projecting markedly. Rustication provides a rich, bold surface for exterior walls. It was used as early as the 6th century BC in the tomb of Cyrus the Great. Italian early Renaissance architects used rustication to decorate palaces. In the Mannerist (late Renaissance) and Baroque periods, rustication assumed great importance in garden and villa design. Fantastic surfaces were achieved, as in vermiculated work, in which the surface is covered with wavy, serpentine patterns or vertical, dribbled forms.

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Things commonly known as rustication include:

  • Rustication is a process in Smoking pipe creation / refinishing where the surface of the pipe is given a texture or design by removing some of the material, often used to give a pipe the appearance of wood grain or to cover up some surface flaw
  • Rustication (architecture) — a texture produced in ashlar masonry with deep cut 'V' or square joints to contrast with smooth masonry
  • Rustication (academia) — temporary expulsion from a university. Literally, to be sent to the countryside
  • Rustication (UK military) — the process of posting a person or relocating a unit from London (or a command HQ) to elsewhere in the country

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