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What the Helen of Troy is this Beautiful Detail Called?

by Prince Of Petworth October 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm 11 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

I walk by this gorgeous house every other day. I posted a pic of this house on Instagram and called this projection a cupola. My friend disagreed. We’re not sure what this architectural feature is called. If it is not a cupola what the Helen of Troy is it? Any historical significance? What’s the practical reason for this type of addition?”

  • jzdc

    It’s an oriel. They are not typically used at the peak of a gable, but still a beautifully detailed one.

  • CCDCresident

    A cupola is the dome like structure on top of a building/dome. What you are showing I think is known as a turret. This is an ornamental structure typically on corner or side of the structure, not on the roof like a cupola.

    • CCDCresident

      Back in the old days, it was where the soldiers would shoot out of defending the castle or the building.

    • Anon

      This is incorrect, see above.

  • Craig

    Possibly a bartizan:


    A cupola is usually more of a dome with the round part facing up.

  • K

    My daughter calls that house ‘The Rapunzel tower.”

    • Emmaleigh504


  • Waterfront

    Indeed, it is an oriel. In fact, the District has a section in DDOT’s public space design manual regulating oriels if they project into public space. Hence, I am very familiar with oriels.

  • Ellen

    Either way…good Scrabble words!


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