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St. Mary’s Academy/Academy of the Arts, 429 Vermont Place with Quoins

Quoin. Constantly trying to find ways to use the intractable letter Q into your Scrabble vocabulary? Today’s Building Language term should help your plight. A quoin is the exterior corner or angle of a structure. More commonly, quoin refers to stones placed along the corner of a structure, with a contrasting stone to the building material. For example, a brick structure may feature limestone quoins along its primary wall corners. The stone quoins provide many benefits to a structure, including accenting and projecting the corners out from the primary building material. The placement of stone quoins usually alternates from the short end (header) to the long face (stretcher). Early twentieth century revival styles often used quoins around windows or doors.

An excellent example of the multiple uses of quoins is found on the former St. Mary’s Academy/Academy of the Arts building at 429 East Vermont Street in Lockerbie Square. The recently rehabilitated brick structure features stone quoins at the north elevation corners, in addition to quoins along the window openings. This Neo-Gothic structure includes an outstanding example of the alternating quoins as applied to the corner of a building.

A residential example of the use of quoins is found on the apartment building at 1408 Broadway Street in the Old Northside. This structure, with gothic details, features stone quoins along the edges of the building. The brick structure also includes a raised central bay with stone quoins at its edges. The dark color of the brick and the light color of the stone quoins produce a delightful contrast of colors and materials.

1408 Broadway Street, Old Northside Historic District, with Quoins

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

We wanted to enlarge the door opening from a single door to a double door, but opted against the change when it required removing the original quoins surrounding the entrance.

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