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cornice(kôr`nĭs), molded or decorated projection that forms the crowning feature at the top of a building wall or other architectural element; specifically, the uppermost of the three principal members of the classic entablatureentablature
, the entire unit of horizontal members above the columns or pilasters in classical architecture—Greek, Roman or Renaissance. The height of the entablature in relation to the column supporting it varies with the three orders, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, but
..... Click the link for more information. , hence by extension any similar crowning and projecting element in the decorative arts. The term is also employed for any projection on a wall that is provided to throw rainwater off the face of the building. The cornice undoubtedly had its origin in the primitive eave projection: the Greek Doric and lonic cornices recall early wooden roof forms, and the Egyptian cavetto-and-fillet cornice is a derivation of the overhanging papyrus stalks that formed the eaves of primitive shelters. The cornice early lost its structural significance and became a stylized decorative element; in the Greek and Roman eras it assumed firmly standardized forms in the classical orders that were retained, with variations, through the Renaissance and later periods. As an element in the classical entablature the cornice is composed of the cymatium, or crown molding, above the corona, the projecting flat member, which casts the principal shadow; in this shadow, and supporting the corona, are a group of moldings called the bed molds, which may be elaborated with dentils. The Corinthian and Composite cornices are further embellished with modillions, or brackets, under the corona; the soffit of the Doric corona is decorated with square, flat projections called mutules, having guttae, or small knobs, hanging from their lower surfaces.
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The uppermost division of an entablature; a projecting shelf along the top of a wall supported by a series of brackets; the exterior trim at the meeting of a roof and wall, consisting of soffit, fascia and crown molding.
A hollow cornice, built up of boards and moldings, resulting in a soffit under the eaves.
A deep cornice having large, widely spaced ornamental brackets supporting an overhanging eave; it is common in the Italianate style.
The level cornice of the pediment under the two inclined cornices.
A cornice supported by a series of modillions, often found in Composite and Corinthian orders.
Overhanging eaves where the rafters are exposed at the eaves and can be seen from below.
A cornice following the slope of a gable, pediment, or roof.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The crowning, overhanging part of an architectural structure.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Any molded projection which crowns or finishes the part to which it is affixed.
2. The third or uppermost division of an entablature, resting on the frieze.
3. An ornamental molding, usually of wood or plaster, running round the walls of a room just below the ceiling; a crown molding; the molding forming the top member of a door or window frame.
4. The exterior trim of a structure at the meeting of the roof and wall; usually consists of bed molding, soffit, fascia, and crown molding. For special types, see architrave cornice, boxed cornice, bracketed cornice, cavetto cornice, closed cornice, eaves cornice, modillion cornice, open cornice.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a. the top projecting mouldings of an entablature
b. a continuous horizontal projecting course or moulding at the top of a wall, building, etc.
2. an overhanging ledge of snow formed by the wind on the edge of a mountain ridge, cliff, or corrie
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005