Veröffentlicht am 2017-12-07 11:42:25 in /int/

/int/ 42907805: Why did medievals build such big buildings? Even today ...

vladarbatov Avatar

Why did medievals build such big buildings? Even today buildings of this scale are only built either by private enterprise or by government; that is, they're built when they're an investment or when there's just too much money around. They're basically the size of a small church, think about it. I know that households back then had far more functions than today, that families were bigger, that staying inside the walls was important and that this had a price, that good location in a good street was valuable, etc, but buildings these big were probably absurdly expensive, and took too long to build, one would think that they would do everything possible to not require such big buildings to be built.

Where's the medievalist french to answer this?

Bernd Avatar

Why do you assume a single family inhabited one of those houses?
It's dont, they housed several

kuldarkalvik Avatar

How come a house woth 2 floors is a huge building?

I guess 3-4 floor-buildings are mostly found in town centers, basically same reason why they build skyscrapers today, people want to live closer to where trade is happening to avoid wasting time and money on travel each day

chrisvanderkooi Avatar

Because back then not everythig was about cost efficiency but human needs.

ggavrilo Avatar

They are not that big, you know. Enough room for a bourgeois family and a handful of domestics under the roof.

keyuri85 Avatar

> period-timber-fr[...].jpg
This one looks to be having a number of structural problems

abotap Avatar

I don't, and I assume many of them weren't even residential. My point is that given that there were no companies back then the building of such big buildings came from individual initiative. Some guy had to have enough money to bank that. Think of a tavern, for example, it was probably one of these big buildings, but could an average tavern owner really afford so easily to build such big buildings? Because these buildings are everywhere in medieval downtowns.

buleswapnil Avatar

>buildings these big were probably absurdly expensive, and took too long to build

Why do you think it's "absurdly expensive" tbh? A framework in a Fachwerk house is quite cheap compared to, say, a loghouse. Most of the walls by volume consist of hay, twigs, clay, dung, which are put between beams. Is it expensive? And raising framework structures is also quite easy and fast to do. The old method also didn't involve any metal, beams connect to each other by reusing pressure that builds up inside grooves (dunno how it's called)

I think only the stone foundation was of any value, and you have 1 foundation whether it's a 2 or 4 floor house, so it didn't really matter how many floors you had

yassiryahya Avatar

No usury > wealth

rawdiggie Avatar

They're hardly that big, and would have taken a few months to build at most.

nateschulte Avatar

1. People practiced their trade mostly in their homes and needed space for it.
2. They had big families.
3. Craftsmen had their apprentices and assistants living in their house mostly.
4. The rooms are smaller and the space is more cramped than it looks.

rdbannon Avatar

>given that there were no companies back then

But there were.

georgedyjr Avatar

pic related

it's a bunch of wodden beams with wattle and clay in between

very cheap actually!

andrewgurylev Avatar

Cheaper than stone in this region but not that cheap. The cheapest construction had almost no wood or stone, it's only dirt and straw.

trickyolddog Avatar

I just assumed by its size that it was very expensive, and still do, because even today in rich countries with far wealthier people and cheaper construction methods individual families don't build that big.

grafxiq Avatar

Its the ground that is exspensive not the building itself.

jqueryalmeida Avatar

>could an average tavern owner really afford so easily to build such big buildings?

They had more than enough cheap wood back then.
Human work hour also wasn't expensive. Also the
tavern guy could have rented the building for instance. Or his wife had inherited it, or, or or.

>there were no companies back then

You wot?

garethbjenkins Avatar

Construction wood was very expensive back in the day...

seanwashington Avatar

I think there's a conspiracy to raise estate value for no reason.

Dunno how deforested Germany was in the middle ages but in Russia you just saw off some trees and you're good to go. The only thing that required specialists was stove, you need skills to properly make them so that they were efficient in winters, so there's always a professional "stove-maker" in every village

joshuapekera Avatar

1. Medieval families were larger than today. About half a dozen people per household was normal.

2. Space within city walls was limited and thus expensive. Only solution for more affordable living space is to build up, just like today.

3. heating closely built multiple story houses is more efficient, since the warmth from the oven on the ground floor would rise upwards, heating the upper floors automatically. The sleeping rooms were usually on the first floor right above the kitchen with the oven, so it would be the only room constantly heated also during the night by the residual heat of the oven. Because before the invention of central heating, fuel for heating (wood, coal) was expensive, so one had to make the most efficient and economical use of it.

3. It is perfectly viable medieval tech to build up to 3 story houses with wood, but above that it gets problematic.

4. Most such old buildings surviving in towns and cities today are from the wealthier gentry and merchants, which wanted to display their wealth through their houses. They could afford to build them that big and fancy, so they did.

1markiz Avatar

Actually, it was all dictated by the function of the medieval cities. They were very densily built-up, because most of the commute happened by foot. People needed to have all of the important things within the reach of a short walk. That's why there were so many narrow streets with high (for medieval standards) buildings - it was the easiest and cheapest way to concetrate businesses and offices on a relatively small area

nasirwd Avatar

>4. Most such old buildings surviving in towns and cities today are from the wealthier gentry and merchants, which wanted to display their wealth through their houses. They could afford to build them that big and fancy, so they did.
That makes sense. Very interesting.

mat_stevens Avatar

A typical house in a medieval town would have a business on the first floor and a warehouse on the top floor to store goods for said business. Considering you also need some living space, then three stories was pretty much the minimum. Also, as said before, the expensive part was buying the land, not building the house.

timgthomas Avatar

They had workshops in the first floor. Dürer house for example.

joki4 Avatar


Stones, real bricks and mortar constuction methods were definitely more expensive.

carlyson Avatar

It's not that big.
It's just what needed to house the average city-dwelling family of that time.

lisakey1986 Avatar

It's not that big in person, I was actually surprised how cramped it is