Last edited 09 Nov 2017



The word 'spandrel' is typically used to refer to the roughly triangular space or surface that is found between a curved figure and a rectangular boundary. It is thought to derive from from the Old French word 'spandre', meaning to spread.

Spandrels can be found in a number of situations:

  • The space between the curve of an arch and a rectilinear moulding.
  • The space bounded by adjacent arches in an arcade and the horizontal moulding above.
  • The space, where arches adjoin, between their crowns and springing lines. This is called a 'spandrel wall' if it is filled in.
  • The space under a flight of stairs.

The term spandrel may also be used to refer to the space between the sill of a window on one storey, and the head of the window beneath it. A spandrel panel is the term given to a sculpted or other decorative element used in this space. If the space is filled with opaque or translucent glass, it is referred to as spandrel glass.

The term 'spandrel' beam refers to an exterior beam that extends from column to column carrying an exterior wall load.

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