Residential buildings made out of stone

The castle as a model

During the 13th century we can recognise a well-planned settlement of building plots by looking at the most prominent residential streets. The area expansion of the city and its encircling wall were nearly completed during the time of Otto IV.

Stone Houses are expensive

Numerous stone buildings were constructed along the streets and squares around the market places of the most important city districts, Altstadt and Hagen. Only rich merchants and patricians living here could afford to use such a substantial and very expensive building technique for their residential houses in comparison to half-timbered constructions.

Houses are getting bigger

The stone buildings were either built with the gable or the roof facing the street. The houses where the roof faced the street were so large that they covered the complete width of the building plot. Hence they very often had a gateway into the courtyard. The back walls of these buildings were still mainly half-timbered constructions.

The building design signals prosperity

These stone constructions, sometimes called roofed hall buildings, were mostly of an impressive size. They had a prominent example within the city: the residential quarters of Henry the Lion within his castle (built around 1175). The core buildings of the Altstadt town hall as well as the town halls in Hagen and Neustadt that were built during the 13th century were also originally constructed as two storey roofed hall buildings.

The architecture of roofed hall buildings

The ground floor contained domestic workrooms and storage rooms as well as the gateway with the entrance hall whereas the upper storey already had representational living quarters (called halls). Historical pictures and examples from other cities show a correspondent elaborate type of architecture. Two patrician houses in the area around Altstadtmarkt decorated with two horizontal battlements became prime examples of this style of architecture in Braunschweig.

Explanations and hints

Picture credits

  • Rekonstruktionsversuch E. Arnhold
  • Städtisches Museum Braunschweig