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Queen Anne gem at 1431 North Delaware Street

Fractable. Want to impress your friends with your architectural lexicon? Next time you see today’s Building Language, explain to them this little known architectural term. A fractable is a raised coping on the end of a gabled wall. Coping is defined as the top course or cap of masonry on a wall, gable, or parapet.  A gabled wall occurs upon the use of a gabled roof, causing the exterior walls to extend upwards to shield the ends of the roof. The fractable serves as the top to the gabled wall and commonly features an ornamental profile, ranging from scrolled, shaped, or stepped. A fractable will most likely take the building’s exterior wall material and might be employed on a structure featuring the Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Mission, or Spanish Eclectic architectural styles.

Fractables on 1431 North Delaware Street

I found two great examples of fractables in two different building types. The first example is found in the Old Northside, at 1431 North Delaware Street. This unique Queen Anne features small fractables to shield the small gables on the east end (back) of the residence. Luckily, this view shows us the gabled roof and the gabled wall and fractable serving to shield the roof. These fractables feature a typical ornamental profile with a curved shape, employing limestone as a material on the gabled wall and fractable.

Fractable on this apartment building on Woodruff Place Middle Drive

Our second example is found on this apartment building in Woodruff Place on Woodruff Place Middle Drive. This fractable is of a much larger scale and serves to shield the entire gabled roof. The ornamental profile of this fractable is both stepped and curved and uses the primary wall material of brick.

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

The brick on the fractable required tuckpointing from the roof’s water runoff.

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