pier

pier, in engineering, term applied to a mass of reinforced concrete or masonry supporting a large structure, such as a bridge. When piers are built on ground of poor bearing value, it is often necessary to drive piles to obtain a firm base. Construction of piers built in riverbeds is facilitated by the use of cofferdams or caissons. Structures that extend out from the shore and over the water, serving as a place to land passengers and merchandise from vessels, are also known as piers. They are used in many harbors when there is ample width of stream; in New York harbor, for example, great economy of shore front is realized by building piers out at right angles to the shore. These piers are generally built on pile foundations. In architecture the term applies to the clustered Gothic pillar, to a wall between openings, and to a detached masonry mass serving as a gate post.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on pier from Fact Monster:

  • Piers Gaveston - Gaveston, Piers Gaveston, Piers , d. 1312, favorite of Edward II of England. Son of a Gascon knight ...
  • Pier Luigi Nervi - Nervi, Pier Luigi Nervi, Pier Luigi , 1891–1979, Italian architectural engineer. Nervi is ...
  • Piers Plowman - Piers Plowman: Piers Plowman: see Langland, William.
  • Pier Paolo Pasolini - Pasolini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Pier Paolo , 1922–75, Italian writer and film director. A ...
  • Farnese - Farnese Farnese , Italian noble family that ruled Parma and Piacenza from 1545 to 1731. In the 12th ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Technology: Terms and Concepts