The use of masonry dates back to antiquity with evidence of the use of some form of stone masonry originating over 10 000 years ago. Over the past 100 years, however, the use of masonry has taken on a much less
prominent role as a structural material. This is due mainly to the adoption of steel and concrete frame construction that creates structures that are much lighter and quicker to construct.
In response to this change, masonry is being used as a form of cladding, at least for concrete and steel framed structures. In the UK, the amount of wind-driven rain has led to the general adoption of cavity wall construction.
This means that each leaf will be fairly slender and this needs to be considered in design together with the load path for actions due to wind.
Load bearing structural masonry is of course still in use and is employed in the construction of low rise buildings and soil retaining structures, as it has been for millennia. Its durability is demonstrated amply by the resilience
of the Pont du Gard; the Roman aqueduct built entirely from stone masonry that still exists almost 2,000 years after it was constructed.