Oriel window

Oriel windows in Kłodzko, Poland.
Oriel windows in San Francisco, California.
Oriel windows with brackets in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France.

An oriel window is a form of bay window which projects from the main wall of a building but does not reach to the ground.[1] Supported by corbels, brackets or similar, an oriel window is most commonly found projecting from an upper floor but is also sometimes used on the ground floor.

Oriel windows are seen in Arab architecture in the form of mashrabiya. In Islamic culture these windows and balconies project from the street front of houses, providing an area in which women could peer out and see the activities below while remaining invisible.[2]


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 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".

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oriel windows.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Oriel.

See also


  1. What is an oriel window - Architecture Glossary
  2. KENZARI, B. and ELSHESHTAWY, Y. (2003), The Ambiguous Veil: On Transparency, the Mashrabiy'ya, and Architecture. Journal of Architectural Education, 56: 17–25. doi: 10.1162/104648803321672924
  3. University Challenge, BBC TV. Broadcast 8 August 2016

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