Timber Framing Styles: Half-Timbered.



Half-Timbered House, Sheffield, England



A half-timbered construction is designed to create several spaces in different sizes between all the load-bearing timbers of the frame. These spaces are called panels and are filled with some kind of non-structural material commonly referred to as infill. This infill has historically consisted of different wattle and daub techniques, bricks (brick nogging) or even horizontally fitted planks (Post & Plank). The frame is mostly left exposed on the exterior of the building, giving it its characteristic appearance.


The Bishops' House (top picture) is the oldest half-timbered building in Sheffield, UK. Built around 1500 it was inhabited all the way up until 1974, after which it was renovated before turned into a museum. Not many (if any) of today's buildings will be inhabited for over 450 years, which really speaks volumes of timber framing as a construction technique in terms of sustainability and endurance.


Half-Timbered building, Osnabruck, Germany


Timbers Buried In Ash

The oldest known half-timbered building in the world is the House of Opus Craticum in Herculanium that was buried by the erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. The name is quite misleading as “opus craticum“ means 'partitioning made of reeds', so basically the same as wattle and daub, which is merely a plastering technique and not a structural element.

3,000 Km Of Timber Frames

Germany in particular are famous for their decorative panels (facher) and timbers with figures and patterns that even have their own meanings and symbolism. The beautiful gable of this half-timbered building in Osnabruck to the right depicts the 4 elements - fire, water, wind and earth.

There is an entire tourist route through Germany called “Deutsche Fachwerkstraße“ (The German Timber Frame Road) stretching all the way from the river Elbe in the north to lake Bodensee in the south, a trip of about 3000 km. Tourists travelling this road will have the pleasure of experiencing a wide range of beautiful timber frame structures divided into seven distinct regional styles.

World Heritage Timber Frames

The UNESCO listed town of Quedlinburg is one of the most prominent timber framing sites on the German Timber Frame Road with over 1200 timber frame buildings, spanning at least 5 centuries of German timber framing tradition in just one town.


Half-timbered street, Quedlinburg, Germany