Architecture Observations

One of the many reasons I am enjoying Europe so much is because of the architecture. The different styles than at home are part of what makes it so interesting. The diversity also is unique to this area as not all houses look like a brick with windows. The size also greatly differs from home which is odd to me. Lastly, the location is amazing because choices made long ago still affect people. The architecture is Europe is some of the most fascinating in the world.

The styles of architecture greatly differ throughout Europe. Most of the reason for this is because of the climate. In the North, the houses and buildings are built for warmth because it gets very cold in the winter. Meanwhile, in the South, the homes and buildings are built to keep the occupants cool in the summer. One problem is, when they have a very hot summer like this year, the north part of Europe does not have air conditioning. Most of the time they do not need it but when they do the buildings become very hot! Modern buildings are built more for actual durability and use instead of to show off wealth and power. Older buildings like castles and manor houses were definitely built to show off! The styles in Europe are very different than back home.

The diversity of buildings in Europe is incredible. In the rainy parts, there are many stone buildings with slate and thatched roofs in the villages, farms, and towns. While in the south along the Mediterranean there is more terracotta and brick (which we have not seen yet). There are also some places that mash together styles from different parts of Europe like Portmeirion, an Italian style town in South Wales. In England, there are more wooden and stucco houses because that is what was available to them for building long ago and it is still convenient for them today. In Italy and Greece, the homes are made out of brick and clay because that is convenient for them. The diversity is part of what makes Europe so beautiful.

The size of structures here is very different than at home. There is less land suitable for building in Europe and therefore the buildings are much smaller. An average sized house at home is huge over here. Also because of less land, the buildings are taller and have even built up in layers on top of each other over time. There is lots of evidence of this in London and Edinbrough. They also do not have any of the housing developments that all the houses look the same. As they were built at different times they are all different and some even look like they had one floor and someone added a second and sometimes even a third. The sizes of buildings in Europe is very different than back home.

The location factor is fascinating in Europe. Choices that were made thousands of years ago about where to settle are still affecting how modern people live. A wealthy person or landowner selected a place for their home to be built and then churches, shops and villages grew around the manor house to serve it. Those locations have remained the villages and cities of today. Ancient settlements have now become London, Athens, and Berlin along with other cities. Ancient archaeological sites are located in the basements of new skyscrapers. Subways must be careful of tunnels and structures. The location adds so much difficulty but also the beauty to European architecture.

So far I have greatly enjoyed European architecture. Both the size and diversity along with the location and styles make it some of the most fascinating I have ever seen. It is so much fun to look for load-bearing walls, beams, and pillars in the ancient construction. One Friary we went to was a very large one but they decided they wanted a bell tower. They ripped off the roof of the original building, built a free-standing bell tower in the middle of the building and then enclosed it again. The original walls were not strong enough to support the tower so they had to find a creative engineering way to add the tall tower.

We are only a little ways into our trip but I am sure that as we continue along we will see more fascinating construction.

P.S. I thought of this after. Sometimes the buildings are built out of the same materials and they do not use architectural elements to make them look different. Instead, they use paint colors and bright plants and flowers.


3 Responses to “Architecture Observations

  • Barb Walker
    3 years ago

    Love your obversations. Remember them for the day you build your own house!

  • Annabel
    3 years ago

    So interesting, Rhys! Thanks for sharing your observations.

  • Tom Bieging
    3 years ago

    Great review of architecture in Europe. Your observations on the diversity and the pictures to back up your comments really make the story come alive. I liked the description of the bell tower the best and the photo of the family home brought back memories.


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