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Architectural Terms & Definitions

Discover everything about the main architectural terms in our glossary and take the opportunity to find out how Millhawlk can help you

What is Oriel Window in architecture?

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What is Oriel Window in architecture?

An oriel window is a type of bay window that projects from the main wall of a building, typically on an upper floor. It is supported by corbels or brackets and is often found in Gothic and Tudor architecture. Oriel windows are known for their decorative features, such as intricate tracery and leaded glass.

History of Oriel Windows

Oriel windows first became popular in medieval Europe, where they were used to provide additional light and space in rooms. They were often used in castles and manor houses to create a sense of grandeur and luxury. In the Renaissance period, oriel windows became more elaborate, with ornate carvings and embellishments.

Design and Functionality

Oriel windows are designed to protrude from the building’s facade, allowing for increased natural light and panoramic views. They can be square, rectangular, or polygonal in shape, depending on the architectural style. Oriel windows are often used in bedrooms, living rooms, and studies to create a cozy alcove for reading or relaxing.

Materials and Construction

Oriel windows are typically constructed from wood, stone, or metal, depending on the architectural style and budget. The windows are supported by corbels or brackets that are attached to the main structure of the building. Leaded glass is often used to enhance the beauty of the window and provide privacy.

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Modern Interpretations

In modern architecture, oriel windows are still used to add character and charm to a building. They can be found in both residential and commercial properties, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication. Oriel windows are often incorporated into contemporary designs to create a unique and stylish look.

Benefits of Oriel Windows

Oriel windows offer several benefits, including increased natural light, improved ventilation, and enhanced views of the surrounding landscape. They can also add value to a property and create a focal point in a room. Oriel windows are a popular choice for homeowners looking to enhance the aesthetics of their home.


Overall, oriel windows are a timeless architectural feature that adds beauty and functionality to a building. Whether used in a historic mansion or a modern apartment, oriel windows continue to captivate and inspire with their elegant design and practicality.

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