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Haue (Oberhausmuseum Passau).
Copyright: Oberhausmuseum Passau

A Manual for Armouries and Storages

Today's warehouses are often wide, open and at ground level, with no or as few supports as possible, in order to accommodate and manoeuvre large volumes. Storage buildings in medieval and early modern castles and towns, on the other hand, were multi-storey and regularly had at least one row of columns. On the one hand, there was usually only limited space available, therefore buildings had to rise upwards. On the other hand, a building with a very large area without many - functionally disruptive - supports could only be constructed with a great deal of effort and know-how. An outstanding example of a building realized like this is the Alte Bauhof (old building yard) - built 1441 to 1443 - in Bad Windsheim in central Franconia.

Designing storages as economically as possible under the given circumstances was a concern of the authorities, which was picked up by architectural theorists such as Leonhard Sturm. He lists five points to be considered while building a granary:

1. It should be possible to "move the grayn up and down comfortably". Additionally, a functional entrance and exit for the transport vehicles also requires efficient freight elevators and transport chutes. Large entrance gates and passages on the ground floor are typical signs for storage buildings and can often still be seen in the nowadays buildings. Moreover, the winches formerly known as "Antwerch" are still sometimes present today, e.g. in Aigen am Inn or Tittmoning. With their help, the goods could be lifted and transported to the upper floors via large openings.

2. A "proper space for pouring and turning over the grayn" must be ensured. The floors should be "finely low", highest 7-8 feet (about 2-3 meters). They should be divided into three-aisled halls by columns, with the central aisle serving to rearrange the grain stored in the side aisles from time to time. In fact, low, multi-aisled rooms are a typical feature of storage buildings such as the Tittmoning Castle or the Duke's Storage in Kelheim.

3. Windows on all floors are recommended for good ventilation. Lockable shutters protect against the effects of bad weather.

4. The corn storage is to be secured well against thieves "which are not so well among humans / as among birds / rats and mice". Against birds, wire grills in the windows are helping. A good ventilation keeps away vermin like "the worms". "To keep the rats and mice, however / I believe is a great art". If the grain is been sold, Leonhard Sturm sees the matter with a wink relaxed, since the rodents "leave their excrement back as a thankful gift for the grayn / which the buyer in turn has to pay / and take off the ground with him".
As a precaution against rats and mice, a vaulted cellar and a gapless stone flooring on the ground floor, through which the animals could not penetrate, would help. Otherwise, the doors to the corn floors should always be closed and the walls on the ground floor should be protected with wire nets against mice climbing up.

5. Finally the fire protection against to firebreaks, thunderstorms and war-bombardment. The valuable goods stored needed special protection.