Building Language: Oxeye Window

Written by on April 17, 2012 in Building Language - 1 Comment
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Oxeye Windows, The Wilson, 643 Fort Wayne Avenue

Oxeye Window.The oxeye window (also known as an œil-de-bœuf) is a small, elliptical window, typically with four keystones at the four points. The oxeye window frequently appears as an accent window, sometimes in dormers, mansard roofs, or generally, on an upper story. The oxeye window will generally feature a fixed glass pane and acts primarily as a light source. The oxeye is regularly employed on buildings across Indianapolis, with styles ranging from the Italianate, Queen Anne, Stick Style, and several Revival styles.

Let’s examine two examples of the oxeye window in Indianapolis. The first is at the Henry Campbell Mansion at 2550 Cold Spring Road. The Campbell Mansion is an Italian Renaissance Revival design dating from 1916, designed by D.A. Bohlen and Son. The Campbell Mansion is one of the residences on “Mansion Row,” all built by influential persons in the early automobile industry in Indianapolis. The Henry Campbell Mansion features two oxeye windows on its primary (east) elevation. The oxeye windows flank a door to the balcony on the second floor. Both oxeye windows are a typical presentation, with an elliptical molding and four keystones.

Oxeye Windows, Henry Campbell Mansion, 2550 Cold Spring Road

Detail of Oxeye Window, The Wilson, 643 Fort Wayne Avenue

Our second example of the oxeye window brings us to The Wilson apartment building at 643 Fort Wayne Avenue. The Wilson is a 1905 Renaissance Revival design included in the National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Listing for “Apartments and Flats of Downtown Indianapolis.” The Wilson features two oxeye windows in the center bay of the main (west) elevation. The oxeye windows on both the second and third floor both feature a typical presentation, an elliptical opening with four keystones. Both oxeye windows are fixed panes and inoperable.

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

Without the oxeye windows, the stairwell would not receive any natural daylight.

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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: Oxeye Window"

  1. basil berchekas jr April 17, 2012 at 7:50 am · Reply

    There are two French Mansard-type old homes off South Emerson Avenue near English Avenue (on the East Side on the edge of Irvington) that if I remember right, have these type windows that can be seen from Emerson.

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