Inca architecture is highly standardized, with familiar building types and architectural arrangements found throughout the empire. Niches, a feature of Inca design found in most buildings, are also standardized, both in their size and in their orderly arrangement in walls. The construction of such uniform architectural features by gangs of conscripted laborers obeyed general rules of construction, which are best seen in buildings of the intermediate masonry style. Standing architectural remains reveal horizontal and vertical seams, changes in block size, and slight disjunctures in block fit that show how niche frames were used to arrange niches in walls under construction, and how exterior building corners were used as frames to orient buildings on sites. The rules outlined to account for wall construction of intermediate masonry style buildings permit us to account for the construction of buildings of fieldstone masonry as well. Buildings of the highest quality Cuzco style stonework seem to have been constructed following different rules for niche placement.

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