The Medieval Origin Story of the Balcony
19th-century architect and theorist Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, in his Dictionnaire Raisonné de l’architecture Française du XIe au XVIe Siècle, traces the history of the external balcony to an 11th century anti-siege device: the hourd.
The hourd was a mountable, wooden scaffolding that was installed on the upper walls or towers of a castle when a battle was imminent – sometimes even during battle. As described in the Biennale catalogue, “like later balconies, the hourd boosts exposure to the exterior, balancing safety and engagement with the world below.”
Source: The Medieval Origin Story of the Balcony | History | Smithsonian
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