The oak framed medieval streets of Dinan, France


Stroll down this lane with Google Street View.


Much of the small independent shop culture of France has a strong connection to their town's well loved medieval architecture.

This is one of the patterns from the book (right) A Pattern Language, No.87 'Individually Owned Shops'. It's what helps to make a place like Dinan an interesting vibrant place to live. This is Rue Haute Voie, one of the many oak framed medieval streets in Dinan, France. In a building built using traditional green oak construction oak can have an incredibly long lifespan.


Traditionally framed buildings like these can last for 800 or more years. Peak acorn production for an oak tree is around 80 to 120 years. It takes about 150 years before an oak tree is ready to use in construction. Planting and harvesting oak is a very sustainable practice with buildings potentially lasting 3 to 4 times longer than the time to replace the harvested trees.

If you are building a traditionally framed home and oak is not available, or too expensive, then larch is a good alternative but not as durable. Alternatively Sweet Chestnut is very durable but not as strong. Ben Law's book Roundwood Timber Framing has a very good section on which species of wood are best suited to which jobs.