Lesenes, corner lesenes and arch frieze on the tower of Old St. Martin, Kaarst

A lesene – also called a pilaster strip[1] – is an architectural term for a narrow, low-relief, vertical pillar in a wall. It resembles a pilaster, but does not have a base or capital.[2]


Lesenes are used in architecture to divide a facade or other wall surface optically, albeit - unlike pilasters - without a base or capital. Their function is ornamental, not just to decorate the plain surface of a wall but, in the case of corner lesenes, to emphasise the edges of a building.



  1. Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture
  2. Curl, James Stevens (2006). Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 2nd ed., OUP, Oxford and New York, p. 442. ISBN 978-0-19-860678-9.
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