Modern Denmark is unusually poor in building stone. Pre-medieval
buildings were mainly wooden, so the earliest surviving buildings
stem from the monastic movement's import of brick-making technology
from the south - and mainly consist of churches and monasteries.
The church was the pivot of society - a power factor if ever there
was one. And existing church buildings are the primary source for
medieval building styles. The Romanesque style with its
round-arched windows typifies the first building work of the
period, and was followed by the Gothic style, characterised by
windows with pointed arches, crow-stepped gables with blind
arcading and a desire for verticality. The cellar of the Odense
Home for Unmarried Ladies of Rank still displays the cross-vaulted
ceiling arches typical of the Gothic period.
The kings of the Middle Ages were always on the move, and for this purpose a number of brick castles and administration buildings were erected. Only in the late 15th century did the first brick-built buildings, which were independent of the church or the monarchy, emerge. In parallel with the masonry building reserved for the elite, wooden building still continued, gradually developing into what is today called half-timbering.