buttress. Pier-like projection of brick, masonry, or other material, built either in close connection with a wall needing extra stability, or standing isolated, to counter the outward thrust of an arch, vault, or other elements. Types of buttress are:angle-buttress (3): one of a pair of buttresses at the corner of a building set at an angle of 90° to each other and to the walls to which they are attached;Anglo-Saxon: not really a buttress at all, but more a thin freestone lesene or pilaster-strip dividing a wall-surface into rubble panels that were originally intended to be rendered; See anglo-saxon architecture.arch-buttress: known as an arc-boutant. See flying buttress;buttress-tower: tower seeming to function as a buttress, as on either side of a gateway, but mostly for defence;clasping buttress (2): massive buttress, square on plan, at the corner of a building, usually of the Romanesque or First Pointed period;Decorated buttress: see Second Pointed buttress;diagonal buttress (5): set at the corner of a building, forming an angle of 135° with the walls, and usually of the Second Pointed period of Gothic;Early English buttress: see First Pointed buttress;First Pointed or Early English buttress: C13 type, often of formidable depth, frequently chamfered, and staged, each stage being defined by off-sets, and the whole structure surmounted with steep triangular gables;flying buttress, also called arc-boutant or arch-buttress (6): consists of an arched structure extending from the upper part of a wall to a massive pier in order to convey the outward thrust of (usually) the stone vault safely to the ground;hanging buttress: type of slender support, carried on a corbel;lateral buttress: attached to a corner of a structure, seeming to be a continuation of one of the walls;Perpendicular or Third Pointed buttress: late-Gothic type with elaborately panelled faces, and, often, crocketed finials of great elegance;pier-buttress (6): detached external pier by which an arch or vault is prevented from spreading, as in the chapter-house of Lincoln Cathedral, where flying buttresses are used. Pier-buttresses are often constructed with a heavy superstructure rising higher than the springing of the flying-buttress arch;Romanesque buttress (1): C11 and C12 wide lesene of little projection, it defines bays;Second Pointed or Decorated buttress: C14 type constructed in stages, frequently elaborately enriched, and surmounted by crocketed gables, pinnacles, finials, and even crocketed spirelets. Many were further embellished with canopied niches for statuary;set-back buttress: resembling an angle-buttress, but not built immediately at the corner, so does not touch the set-back buttress on the return-wall, thus the quoin of the building remains visible. See also Spire.
but·tress / ˈbətris/ • n. a projecting support of stone or brick built against a wall. ∎ fig. a source of defense or support: there was a demand for a new stable order as a buttress against social collapse.• v. [tr.] provide (a building or structure) with projecting supports built against its walls: [as adj.] (buttressed) a buttressed wall. ∎ fig. increase the strength of or justification for; reinforce: authority was buttressed by religious belief.
buttress Mass of masonry built against a wall to add support or reinforcement. Used since ancient times, buttresses became increasingly complex and decorative in medieval architecture. Gothic often featured marvellously daring flying buttresses.
fly·ing but·tress • n. Archit. a buttress slanting from a separate pier, typically forming an arch with the wall it supports.
buttress XIII. ME. butras, -es, boterace, -as, — OF. bouterez (ars bouterez ‘thrusting arch’), inflexional form of bouteret, f. bouter BUTT1; the ending was assim. first to -ace, and thence in XVI to -ess.
flying buttress. See buttress.
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