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word of the week: PINNACLE

2012 February 2
by Caroline Nye Stevens

Pinnacles on the Tribune Tower, CNS 2011

PINNACLE: a subordinate vertical structure terminating in a decorative pyramid or spire. Most often found crowning gothic buildings.

These pinnacles are decorating a top level of Chicago’s gothic-styled Tribune Tower. Bonus words: crocket and finial — both are key decorative features to many pinnacles, including the ones pictured here. A crocket is a projecting ornament, usually in the form of curved foliage, used to decorate and soften the outer angles of pinnacles, spires and gables. And a finial is the (typically) foliated ornament terminating a pinnacle.

2 Responses
  1. February 2, 2012

    I love the terminology lessons you post, but I always end up forgetting them. I should probably get some kind of reference book; are there any you recommend?

    • Caroline Nye Stevens permalink*
      February 2, 2012

      Hey Eric! I most definitely would. Francis Ching’s “A Visual Dictionary of Architecture” is the best book out there for a guide to architectural terminology.

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