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word of the week: CUPOLA

2010 June 28
by Caroline Nye Stevens

Jewelers Building, CNS 2010

CUPOLA: a light ornamental structure, especially a small dome on a circular or polygonal base crowning a roof or turret. A cupola typically serves as either a belfry (bell tower), lantern (the superstructure of a roof or dome with open or windowed walls to allow in light and air) or a belvedere (a part of a building designed and placed to look out upon a pleasing scene).

Adalbert's Church, CNS 2010

Compare the lush ornamentation on the cupola of the downtown Jeweler’s Building with the much more minimally decorated cupolas topping St. Adalbert’s Church in Pilsen. According to legend, during Prohibition Al Capone used to run a speakeasy out of the Jeweler’s Building’s cupola. Today it serves as the showroom for architect Helmut Jahn.

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