Illustrated Architecture Dictionary

Abacus
(AB a kis, a BACK is)


A slab forming the crowning member of a capital. It consists of a square block, or one enriched with molding.

Latin: "abacus" = table, tablet

Greek Doric - square without chamfer or molding

Greek Ionic - thinner with ovolo molding only

Roman Ionic and Corinthian - the sides are hollowed on plan and have the angles cut off

Romanesque - the abacus is deeper but projects less and is molded with rounds and hollows, or merely chamfered on the lower edge

Gothic - the circular or octagonal abacus was favored in England, while the square or octagonal abacus is a French feature

Found in classical Greek and Roman architecture and derivatives, including Beaux Arts Classicism, Classical Revival, Federal, Georgian Revival, Greek Revival, Neoclassicism, Renaissance Revival, Second Empire; also, in Gothic and Gothic Revival


Examples from Buffalo architecture

Other examples:


Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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