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Egg-and-dart. This week’s Building Language term explores the extensive terminology associated with classical architecture. Egg-and-dart is a form of ornament standard in classical inspired architecture, including the vastly popular Beaux Arts and Classical Revival styles in Indianapolis. Egg-and-dart consists of two elements: first, the echinus, which is a type of circular molding with an egg-like form, and second, a groove and raised border, which surrounds each echinus. The tops of the “eggs” or echinus are then trimmed at the top of each band. Egg-and-dart is typically used on classical cornices or friezes as a small band of ornament.

Egg-and-dart on Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 46 East Ohio Street

Egg-and-dart is frequently used as an ornamental feature, but its roots date from Greek and Roman architecture. However, with a trained eye, you can find egg-and-dart ornament on a variety of buildings in Indianapolis. One example includes the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse (46 East Ohio Street), the monolithic Beaux Arts building located between the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza and Monument Circle. Completed in 1905, the Federal Building demonstrates the wide spread use of the Beaux Arts style after the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The structure includes pilaster columns and an ornamented cornice. The cornice includes dentils and a row of egg-and-dart ornamentation.

Another example of egg-and-dart ornament is found on Monument Circle at the historic Hilbert Circle Theater (45 Monument Circle). The Circle Theater is a Classical Revival structure dating from 1916. The egg-and-dart motif is once again found alongside a row of dentils, placed at the cornice line. The classical detailing on the Circle Theater includes a band of carved sculptures. The classical embellishment found on the Circle Theater shows an emphasis on detail and replicating features of classical architecture.

Egg-and-dart on Hilbert Circle Theater, 45 Monument Circle

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

The rehabilitation included the in-kind replacement of a section of egg-and-dart that was extremely deteriorated.

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