Centaurs are natural engineers, and have an intuitive understanding of spacial orientation and structure; they make excellent architects and masons. Because of their particular needs, they build in heavy materials, such as stone, though occasionally they frame out homes in timber or use wood for support or decoration. They tend to build single story dwellings, which are wide and spacious; ceilings and roofs are high, and reached by means of earthen ramps, which are then removed following completion of construction. Geometrical shapes and precise angles are preferred. Flooring is almost always of stone or earth, and there are no cellars. However, floors are never slick or polished; whatever the material used, it is rough and provides good traction for hooves, and ceramics are almost never incorporated into the floor.
Though wide, high doors are used, especially on the exterior of a building, interior rooms are often accessible through archways screened from each other by curtains which separate the rooms. Windows tend to be high and wide, often rising from the floor to the ceiling; glass is rare, and oiled paper, though occasionally used, is uncommon. Because of the warm and humid climate, the preference is for windows to simply be left open to the breeze, with strong shutters to screen out the storms that sweep down from the mountain heights. This is more common in the lower, warmer sections of the valley, with the upper reaches having slightly smaller windows and more use of insulating materials. Of preference, centaurs keep their colors light, so that the large rooms are easily illuminated.
Wide open courtyards and gardens are favored by many centaurs, and are often built so that both indoor and outdoor spaces are integrated into the plan of the structure. Because of the need for large open rooms, pillars and columns are frequently incorporated into the design for maximum support. These are artistically carven with beautiful designs, and are made of either wood or stone. Plaster is a common surfacing material, and whitewash is the paint of choice. Simplicity and clean lines in symbolic patterns are desirable, rather than more representative art. The need for intricate decoration and representative art is filled instead by elaborate tapestries and embroidered hangings which many centaurs excel at creating.
An offshoot of centaur architecture is the elaborate bower; this is a frequent addition to the gardens and courtyards of upper class manors. It is common practice to plant black willows and other flexible, narrow-boughed trees, interlacing them with flowering vines and saplings so that a sturdy structure is built of living materials. These bowers are traditionally added to over a course of years until they may become solidly-wooded, living structures that are ideal for garden parties or pleasant meeting places.
All pages Copyright© 2012-2019 by Beth Hudson Wheeler and Eleanor C. Ray