Pediment on Good Hall, University of Indianapolis

Good Hall at University of Indianapolis

Pediment. Following up on previous posts on classical architecture terms, including dentils and egg-and-dart, today’s Building Language term is another classically inspired term: pediment. A pediment is a triangular, low-pitched, gabled end that covers an entrance or colonnade. Smaller pediments may decorate other features, including doorways, windows, or niches. Although traditional pediments feature a triangular shape, a broken pediment will feature a gap in the upper or lower center of the triangle. Dating from Greek architecture, one might find a pediment on Classical Revival, Beaux Arts, or Neo-classical architecture throughout Indianapolis.

Several historic buildings in Indianapolis use pediments in a variety of applications. Good Hall at the University of Indianapolis (formerly known as the Administration Building at Indiana Central University) is a Classical Revival structure at the corner of Otterbein Avenue and East Hannah Avenue. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Good Hall features a typical pediment positioned over the central bay of its primary entrance. The pediment includes some garlands and ornamentation in the center of the triangle. The pediment on Good Hall highlights the strong use of classical architectural elements, the colonnade at the entrance features classical columns and dentils.

Pediment over entrance on Masonic Temple, 525 North Illinois Street

A second example is found at the Indiana Freemasons’ Hall (525 North Illinois Street), a Neo-classical structure dating from 1909. Built as the Indianapolis Masonic Temple, this inconspicuous structure is located directly southwest of the Scottish Rite Cathedral and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Indiana Freemasons’ Hall includes pediments on both its individual entrances and above the faux window openings on the second story. In both instances, the pediment is supported by ornamental brackets and includes some stone ornamentation in the center of the triangle.

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

The sculptures within the pediment are the most unique feature of the building.