oriel window

oriel

[awr-ee-uhl, ohr]

Bay window in an upper story, supported from below by projecting corbels. Usually semihexagonal or rectangular in plan, oriels first became prevalent early in the 15th century. They were often placed over gateways or entrances to manor houses and public buildings of the late Gothic and Tudor periods. In cities of North Africa and the Middle East, the moucharaby is an oriel that uses grills or lattices in place of glass and shutters. Seealso brise-soleil.

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Oriel windows are a form of bay window commonly found in Gothic revival architecture, which jut out from the main wall of the building but do not reach to the ground. Corbels or brackets are often used to support this kind of window. They are seen in combination with the Tudor arch. This type of window was also used in Victorian Architecture in the Queen Anne Style.

Oriel windows are seen in Arab architecture in the form of mashrabiya.

In the Hindu culture these windows and balconies projected from the street front, providing an area in which women could peer out and see the activities below while remaining invisible.

Origins

According to the OED, the origin of the word oriel is derived from Anglo-Norman oriell and post-classical Latin oriolum, both meaning gallery or porch, perhaps from classical Latin aulaeum, curtain.

  • Oriel College, Oxford took its name from a balcony or oriel window forming a feature of a property which occupied the site the college now stands on.
  • Oriel Chambers in Liverpool was a very controversial building when it was built, featuring an entire facade of glass oriel windows. It is seen as an early example of modernism.

References

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