Architecture of the Middle Ages

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Architecture of the Middle Ages
HUM100 – Introduction to the Humanities


When thinking of medieval or gothic architecture, one can't help but think about the giant castles and beautiful churches that are spread across Western Europe. The castles and churches are definitely a great example of medieval architecture; there are a lot of other examples to explore. For example, what were residential and commercial buildings like? How did the residences differ between those of different social classes? This paper will explore residential, religious and military architecture from the middle ages.

Residential Architecture
The residences of the middle ages varied greatly depending on the income level of the owner. The lower classes lived in wooded houses in the country, the middle class lived in wooden houses in the city, and the wealthiest lived in brick houses (or manors) in the city or in the country. These manors were among the largest structures built for their time. Only castles and cathedrals were bigger (History Learning Site, 2007). The lower class citizens generally lived in cottages or huts had a frame made from trees, and walls made out of a packing a combination of clay, dung, and straw onto a frame of wattle laths (Dartford Archive, 2007). Being made of these materials, these houses would not last very long without constant up keep. There are very few of these buildings still standing today. The wealthier citizens were most commonly situated inside the city. Because land was at a premium within the city, even the wealthier citizens would usually live in town houses. Often times these townhouses would double as a retail shop and office space for the owner. The townhouses were a typical rectangle shape, but oddly enough, the kitchen was often detached from the house at the rear as a standalone structure. That really makes sense since that is where the heating and cooking were done with an open fire. Having an isolated building...
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