Monitor on Lone Hall, Arsenal Technical High School

Monitor. A monitor is a raised section found straddling the ridge of a roof. The monitor commonly imitates the roof form of the primary structure, but includes full-length windows on its vertical walls. Monitors might be found on the roof above a larger interior space, which can provide additional light and ventilation. The windows typically include openings or louvers to allow ventilation, in addition to providing additional sunlight into the space below.

The first example of a monitor is found on the roof of Lone Hall (1922) on the campus of Arsenal Technical High School (1500 East Michigan Street). This monitor is a typical presentation, with a rectangular structure extending above the ridge of the gable roof, featuring windows lining the north and south monitor walls. Lone Hall was first used as a power plant for the campus, which explains the need for natural sunlight and ventilation into the building’s interior.  The monitor features an identical roof to the primary building and extends across the entire gabled roof ridge.

Barrel Roof with Monitor on Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University

Monitor Detail, Hinkle (Butler) Fieldhouse, Butler University

Another monitor in an atypical setting is found on the roof of the 1928 Hinkle (Butler) Fieldhouse (510 West 49th Street). The monitor rests on the barrel roof, extending upwards from the primary roof and features large windows on the north and south walls of the monitor. The monitor continues the barrel form on its own roof. The windows span from end to end of the structure, providing ample natural light in the large basketball arena inside the Fieldhouse.

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

We opened the monitor windows when we realized the air conditioning inside the gymnasium wasn’t working correctly.

5 responses to “Building Language: Monitor”

  1. Jeff Downer Indianapolis says:

    Well this explains the Civil War era warship’s name. I have wondered where the Monitor name came from.

  2. P.J. says:

    A friend has a house with windows short wide windows in the attic, under the roof’s eaves. I haven’t been able to find a name for them. My husband seems to think they are called “birdseye windows’, but I can’t find that term either. Can you help?

  3. Raina Regan says:

    Based on what you described, it could partially depend on the style of the house. Is it a craftsman or prairie style? Those could be just simple dormer windows. It could also be known as a set of ribbon windows or clerestory windows, depending on its placement.

  4. Ginny Goggin says:


    Happy to see your name in print. Kathy gave us the website. Happy to see you are doing well in your chosen field. In case you don’t recognize our names, we are your father’s aunt and uncle from Braintreek Ma. Best wishes for a Merry Christman and Happty New Year.

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