Basic Architectural Style
The most common and basic architectural style of the Mayan civilization can be seen in the homes of their average citizens. These were mainly hay-huts, a type of building wherein the majority of Mayan people lived.
Based on bilateral symmetry, these hay huts had walls made of either mud or stone and were enveloped with wooden-poles of about two meters. The entire formation rested on these wooden poles which were around three-four meters in height. This particular arrangement helped in creating a bond on either sides of the hay structure. Apart from this, another material which was extensively used for construction was limestone. While hay was used for the general populace, limestone, because of its abundance and appearance, was used for the buildings of upper class people. However, the layout of both these construction styles remained almost the same.
With the change in construction material, even the height of the construction varied, as some material can withstand the height, while others cannot endure the high elevation. The height of these structures ranged from just fifty centimeters to over two meters, and around forty-five meters in case of temples. In temples, the façade was mostly sectioned into two, where the layout of the interiors depended on the utility. The inside of the whole structure was easily accessible through a staircase that was pointed and extensive.
Also, roofs were given additional prominence in the structures. Some popular roof structures were sticking-out stone, dome and beam roofs, all enveloped with lime and cement. The procedure for building roofs involved filling void spaces with wood-sticks and cement, making the beam almost thirty centimeters thick. When the cement dried, beams were removed from beneath, a practice which is still in existence. Moreover, the constructions also had slopes through the center with complex designs made from plaster. Some of the buildings were also ornamented with stone carvings, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and drawings of humans, animals, birds, or serpents.
The materials used for building these artistically renowned structures were mostly stones found in and around the city. Among them, limestone was very popular mainly because of its easy availability. The other accepted construction material was mortar, which was prepared scientifically by burning limestone.