Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability

Each country has its own traditional architecture. So, China, with pagodas, Europe – Gothic buildings, with skyscrapers, Russia is consistently associated with huts etc. But at the mention of Germany those who are interested in architecture or just following the modern trends of suburban construction, comes to mind the term “half-timbered house”.

Having appeared in Germany, today they have become very popular in different parts of the world, including ours.

History of half-timbered houses

The German word Fachwerk is formed of two parts: das Fach — section, cell and das Werk — construction. Literally, it turns out “construction of the sections.” Looking from the half-timbered houses, we verify the accuracy of the determination. Similar to gingerbread houses from a fairy tale, they will not go unnoticed while walking through the ancient European streets. They are invariably bright, the walls are like “cut” dark wooden beams. Completes the construction of a sloping roof.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Half-timbered houses

According to historians, half-timbered houses originated in Germany, in areas where there were rivers and ship business developed. To repair and build ships, it was necessary to understand the carpentry business. And once the masters realized that it is possible to build not only strong ships, but also sound houses.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Half-timbered houses was born in Germany

Dates from the appearance of half-timbered 12th century. But its heyday came in the 15th and 16th century, when architects were mixed traditional half-timbered houses with new trends:

  • with Baroque elements (pediments with large curls at the edges, an abundance of details on the facade, sculptures of people and animals),
  • with Gothic elements (quotes from Holy Scriptures on facade),
  • with details of the Renaissance (an abundance of characteristic rosettes, shells, wreaths, flower vases on the facade).

In addition, the geographical division in the region also influenced the construction. If you visit several regions of Germany, you will not find the same half-timbered houses there. There are the following directions: Thracian, Aleman and lower Saxon half-timbered.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
The appearance of timber framing dates from the 12th century

Houses were built in view of the fact that the land in those days was very expensive. So living space would not increase at her expense. Doing it this way:

  • We built a frame of strong wooden racks and beams.
  • Panels filling the space between them were made of a mixture of clay with wild reeds or straw. The name of this blend – Saman. Saman was applied to the” skeleton ” of wooden rods.
  • To expand the space in the room, enterprising Germans came up to build so that each floor was wider than the previous one and “hung” over it somewhere half a meter. This overhanging lower floor protected from moisture. Subsequently, the characteristic projections and became one of the distinguishing features of framing as an architectural currents.
  • After completion of works with a skeleton and panels plastered and painted the house. And painted not anyhow, but according to a certain principle. Panels – in light color, and a wooden frame – necessarily in the dark. The house became visually “broken” into cells. So there is another difference, which we will talk later.
  • And finally, the roof. In old German half-timbered houses roofs were high, sloping. Under them was located additional living space.
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As for the decoration of the facade and the house as a whole, they could afford only wealthy burghers. They invited experienced craftsmen who know their job well.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Half-timbered house, decorated with carvings

At the request of the owner they could recreate on the facade the coat of arms, make a unique thread, to decorate the house with sculptures, paintings or inscriptions: for example, with wishes of good health and prosperity, or simply information about who lives under this roof and we are glad the owners of the hotel. Similar statements were called Haussprüche (from it. das Haus – house and der Spruch-saying).

Interestingly: researchers of this type of architecture have revealed that in the German half-timbered buildings there is a certain symbolism. If the beams are crossed like the letter X, it symbolizes the cross of St. Andrew (on which crucified St. Andrew).

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Andrew’s cross

If the segments of the side beams are not crossed, then this form is called “Swabian woman”. Why Swabian? Most likely, the Association goes with the national costume of Swabian women: a laced corset with a neckline and a fluffy skirt.

If the beams resemble the letter “K”, you the “Wild man.” The origin of this name is not really known. Maybe these inhabitants of medieval Germany was represented by the man with the strange behavior of the wild.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Wild man

The curving tendrils in the form of the letter “S” on the corner beams was a talisman against lightning. Terrible masks on a facade protected from evil spirits and ill-wishers. Images sun in the form of outlets were symbols of fertility and material prosperity.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Images of the sun in the form of rosettes were symbols of fertility and material well-being

With the advent of the 18th century half-timbered houses lost its position. Very difficult was in such house to bring engineering communications, and to live without them it would not be desirable. 19th and 20th century is also marked by half-timbered calm and the massive construction of more modern buildings. But the 21st century has stirred up interest in this style. In large cities of Germany and not only began to restore old half-timbered houses and build new, but already taking into account modern materials, trends, etc. and are now called descendants of the burgher houses half-timbered houses, or half-timbered houses.

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Distinctive features of half-timbered houses

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Color contrasts and Windows in a row.

  1. The complete absence of metal elements in the design. That 500 years ago, that now the construction of the half-timbered house does not accept metal in the frame. Heavy metal screeds and spoil the appearance of the house and the interior. The result is not what expected.
  2. Beams do not hide under the veneer. This is one of the main features characteristic of half-timbered houses. Beams divide the house into sections.
  3. Filling the space between the beams with material other than wood texture. Previously, it was Saman, which we have already talked about above. To date, it successfully replaces the brick.
  4. Ease of construction. Half-timbered houses are very light, so you can build them on a Foundation.
  5. Color contrast. In the first half-timbered houses played on opposition “light-dark”. Now flight fantasies nothing not constrained by: dark red and green, brown and beige, dark brown and light-green and other a combination of.
  6. Hanging one floor above the other. Today, this feature is almost erased, became optional. There is no need to expand the living space in this way, and modern building materials perfectly protect the wood from moisture.
  7. A large number of small Windows. In the middle Ages the house could be literally strewn with small Windows. Small, because the large Windows really do not know how, the glass was difficult to get and very expensive. Fortunately now and Windows are able to do any size, and there are no problems with the material. Very popular among the owners of half-timbered houses nowadays panoramic Windows. Although experts do not advise. First, because not always the Windows overlook the pond, meadow, forest or the house stands on the edge, and running on business neighbors-a spectacle for the Amateur. It is better to make several Windows in a row.
  8. High roof. In Europe, all half-timbered houses have high and sharp gable roofs. Having such a roof design was beneficial: it protects the entire house from rain, and under it you can equip the attic floor. In modern homes can meet and sloping options. But if you want to comply as much as possible with the requirements of the style, the high roof is required.
  9. House should “seek to” upward. Of course, with the lack of land in medieval Europe, the house could not “spread” in width. They were looking up. The higher, the more space. If you are building a house now, it is up to you to decide whether it will be stretched vertically or horizontally.
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Does it make sense to build a Half-timbered house?

You can build it only in a warm climate, otherwise they will not survive the winter.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Project half-timbered house

But thanks to new technologies. Now half-timbered houses not less warm, than brick or from a bar. In the cottage, and it was there that most often such houses, there are all the necessary communications. Underfloor heating, double glazing and modern insulation materials provide good protection against the cold. Meet at the house with a fireplace or stove, they certainly do not freeze. That was timbered to slowly gain an audience.

Whether half-timbered house to a certain interior

This is quite a controversial issue. There is no such thing as “half-timbered interior”. “Fit” in the house this can be anything from classical to country:

  • Fans of antiquity can artificially aged beams and floor boards. Alternatively, you can put a stone tile on the floor.
  • Wall better to leave white (or any of a brighter tone).
  • Beams — be sure to contrast the dark walls. On the beam, by the way, we can bring the light.
  • Look good as decorative elements forged things: horseshoes, shelves, etc. If you want, even wrought iron furniture will not be superfluous.
  • The interior of the half-timbered house implies the presence of a hearth. It will make it more homey and cozy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fireplace or a stove.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
The interior is in a mixed style: Half-timbered + country

If Hobbies old not, the house can be turned into a modern spacious home. Added to the features of the framing features of minimalism:

  • No forged products and an abundance of accessories.
  • A large number of the area remains free to sunlight could easily fill the room.
  • Beams are allowed to paint in a light tone, slightly darker than the walls.
  • A small fireplace (stove is inappropriate), a minimum of furniture, textiles light tones, in General, nothing weighting the interior – and we get a house from a mixture of two seemingly opposite directions.

Half-Timbered Houses – a Standard of German Style and Reliability
Modern interior: half-timbered + minimalism

Half-timbered houses, despite the popularity and ancient history in Europe, we are considered exotic. Not everyone will risk “contact” with such a project. But with proper execution, the result will justify the spent forces and means. What do you think?

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