Last edited 28 Jun 2021



In classical, neoclassical and baroque architecture, a pediment is the triangular gable that forms the end of a pitched roof. It is placed above the horizontal entablature which is typically supported by columns. It is also sometimes seen as the top element of a portico.

In classical Greek temples, the pediment was the crowning feature of the front elevation, with the tympanum (the area within the pediment) being decorated with relief sculptures depicting mythological figures and scenes.

The Romans later adapted the pediment as a decorative finish for doors, windows and niches.

There are a number of variations of the traditional pediment:

  • The segmental or arch form in which the angular slopes of the cornice are replaced by a circle segment.
  • The broken pediment in which the raking cornice is left open at the apex.
  • The open pediment in Georgian architecture, in which the pediment is open along the base.
  • The ‘swan-necked pediment’, where the raking cornice takes the form of two S-shaped brackets facing one another.

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