Wednesday, December 14, 2011
In architecture, a cupola (pronounced /ˈkjuːpələ/) is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building.Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome.
The word derives, via Italian, from the lower Latin cupula (classical Latin cupella from the Greek κύπελλον kupellon) small cup (Latin cupa) indicating a vault resembling an upside down cup.
Cupolas often appear as small buildings in their own right. They often serve as a lantern, belfry, or belvedere above a main roof. In other cases they may crown a tower, spire, or turret.The chhatri, seen in Indian architecture, fits the definition of a cupola when it is used atop a larger structure.
The cupola is a development during the Renaissance of the oculus, an ancient device found in Roman architecture, but being weatherproof was superior for the wetter climates of northern Europe.