Oculus. From the Latin for “eye,” oculus is the name for this round window and others of this shape. Alternate names for this feature are roundel (for its round shape) or bull’s eye (for obvious reasons). Oculi may be found in the sidewall of a building or at the top of a dome.

The oculus in this photograph allows a look out of an early 20th Century double in the 1400 block of Park Avenue. Oculi have been used as architectural features since at least the Renaissance.  Put on your glasses and look for an oculi near you.

Connie Zeigler is president and owner of C. Resources, Inc. Connie is a preservation consultant, writer and researcher.

3 responses to “Building Language: Oculus”

  1. Rachel says:

    I was at my parent in law’s house today and the house across the street has a window like this and I immediately thought of this post and knew what it was called. My in laws live at 65 N. Ritter and the house with the window is across the street. I would love to know what you think about the paint job of the house. It is purple and looks like a doll house to me.

  2. Jackie says:

    Hi! Thank you for your architectural terminology as it is very helpful in my studies. I have one question, another HI article calls this type of window an “oxeye” window. Would you say that these terms are interchangeable? Or are there specific differences between the two?

  3. Anonymous says:


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