Building Language: Bay Window

Written by on October 9, 2012 in Building Language - 1 Comment
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Bay window on Merrill House, 1531 Broadway Street, Old Northside

Bay Window. The bay window is a favorite feature of mine on historic buildings. A bay window is a set of windows that project out from the primary wall of the structure, creating an alcove within an interior room. Bay windows can help make a room appear larger by capitalizing on a little extra space available in an alcove or window seat. Bay windows can take several forms, a completely rounded bay window is termed a bow window, while a cant bay window features three sides (two diagonals and a flat face – canted sides). Bay windows are a common feature to several 19th and 20th century architectural styles, including the Italianate, Queen Anne, and Tudor Revival. Bay windows rise from the foundation, while oriel windows are bay windows on an upper story. Bay windows can be used on all types of architecture, although you might predominately find them on residential examples, they can be found on other architectural uses, including commercial and schools.

A fine example of a bay window on an Italianate is found at the Merrill House (1531 Broadway Street) in the Old Northside. I recently discussed this residence in the post on Italianate architecture, but it also is an excellent example of a bay window. The bay window rises from the foundation and is found on both stories on the south elevation. The individual window panels within the bay use identical window ornamentation as found on the single windows on the other elevations.

Bay windows on this residence in the 900 block of Woodruff Place Middle Drive in Woodruff Place

This historic Queen Anne on the 900 block of Woodruff Place Middle Drive in Woodruff Place features a bay window on its southern elevation. The first floor bay is an excellent example of the bow window, a variation of the bay that features a completely rounded face. The second floor features a square bay window resting on top of the bow window.

Add it to your vocabulary – how might one use today’s Building Language term in their everyday life?

There is nothing more enjoying than curling up with a good book in the bay window.

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About the Author

Raina Regan is an architectural historian employed by the Indiana National Guard. Her work encompasses statewide cultural resources projects with National Register eligible or listed structures. Raina has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Ball State University. Raina is an Indiana import by way of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan and loves the culture and architecture of the Midwest.

One Comment on "Building Language: Bay Window"

  1. basil berchekas jr October 9, 2012 at 9:40 am · Reply

    Do wish to stay with this article on bay windows!

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