Also in Germany there is a very close relationship between the nature of the country and the materials of which the houses are built. According to the different lithological nature of the country, the construction material is different: basaltic lavas in the volcanic zone, as in Hesse, Triassic or Cretaceous sandstones where these rocks (middle Gerinania) are extensive, erratic boulders of various composition in lower Germany. Building material of the rural house much used in the past, it was the Lehm mixed with straw: it was a fairly simple way of building houses. And still, especially to the east of the Elbe, they are met; in the past they were very frequent and it seems that this is a way of building of the Slavs. But as extraordinary economic progress took place after 1870, this type of construction became increasingly rare. Timber plays a large part in the German rural house. The old house made entirely of tree trunks (Blockhaus) has almost disappeared. But the timber forms the skeleton of the upper part of the rural house even where it is scarce on the spot. In fact typical is the construction made in the lower part of masonry, and in the upper part of a timber skeleton, for the reason that the wood defends, much better from the cold and the); the partitions between the girders are filled with clay, bricks or stones. This way of building disappears in mountainous places, where the whole house is made of timber, or at least the partition wall is covered with boards. The wood defends against the bad weather of the mountain, therefore it is widely used even where good stones abound. These are the building material in urban centers, where however there are still quite a few houses with partitioned walls. The bricks are also widely used in urban constructions, especially where good stones are lacking.
Let’s start with the Alpine house. It has very sloping, long, sloping roofs, so that the snow does not stop and break them. The roof is made of shingles (wooden boards). In addition, the roof protrudes into a large gutter, and there is a gallery that goes around the whole house or a large part of it. The entrance door, then, is not located on one of the larger sides, but on one of the smaller sides of the rectangle. The very overhanging roof is also used to keep the wood dry, to be able to work outside the house and indoors. Inside, the various rooms (living quarters, stable, closets) are all under one roof. There are no ancillary constructions around the courtyard, so that the stable is not separated from the man’s house. Very similar is the type of Schwarzwaldhaus, the house of the Black Forest, which is built entirely of timber, while the Alpine house is also partly built of masonry.
Moving away from the higher mountainous parts, in the middle of Germany there is the Thuringian-Franconian house: here the dwelling of man is separated from that of the animals, and the existence of a central space surrounded by the house and by the accessory rustic buildings, it is the real court (Hof) which can be accessed by wagons through a door and by an adjacent door people. Once you enter the courtyard, you notice that this is a rectangular space, on the sides of which the dwelling house is arranged, which overlooks the main facade on the courtyard itself (this for reasons of opportunity that depend on the works, on the surveillance that the owner must exercise.), stables and accessories, as has already been mentioned in dealing with ethnography (central Germany). The windows are large. Outside the courtyard are the plots cultivated as a vegetable garden. In many parts of the Po Valley and in several other countries similar arrangements are repeated around the courtyard: this satisfies obvious practical reasons. In northern Germany, especially towards the west, there is the Saxon (Low Saxon) house. Like the Alpine house, this is a unique construction, i.e. under one roof there are the dwellings of man, that of animals and the storerooms of various species, as has already been said in the ethnographic chapter (Lower Germany). The internal arrangements, however, are different, and the house in the Lowland is protected around it by many trees against the strong wind that comes from the sea and the trees may also function as lightning rods, given the frequency of thunderstorms.