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word of the week: ORIEL WINDOW

2010 August 8
by Caroline Nye Stevens

Oriel Window, Nickerson Mansion

ORIEL WINDOW: a bay window that protrudes from the main wall of a building but does not extend to the ground. Oriel windows are frequently supported by corbels or brackets.

Old Colony Building

Compare the small oriel window of the Nickerson mansion with the large multi-story oriel windows on the Old Colony building. The Old Colony  is the only building remaining in the loop with oriel windows at its four corners.

Click on the photos to ENLARGE them!

4 Responses
  1. windycindy permalink
    August 19, 2010

    Absolutely lovely! I never knew the name of this type of archictectural detail. Thank you for the lesson! Are you aware of any contemporary applications of oriel windows in Chicago, or has this design element fallen out of favor?

    • August 22, 2010

      That’s a great question. You can definitely find examples of oriel windows in contemporary architecture all over Chicago and the rest of the country and world. The definition is a broad one: basically a window that protrudes from a structure and does not extend to the ground as bay windows do. Many windows fit this definition in contemporary architecture, but you might have trouble finding an example as classically “cute” as the window on the Nickerson mansion. As I continue my explorations into Chicago’s architecture, I’ll keep an eye out for interesting examples of oriel windows in more modern buildings . . . .

  2. April 24, 2011

    Hello, I found your blog and the oriel window caught my attention. We recently built a project with an oriel window and put up a post showing our work and photos of oriel windows to give others ideas on them. I also linked your site to ours.

  3. Bud permalink
    April 27, 2011

    If you would like to see the most beautiful window oriels in the world go to Germany, specifically Nurmberg. Some of the oriels are examples of unbelieveable detailed craftsmanship. Oriels really give a building character.

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