Compound pier

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Example of a compound pier in the maha mandapa of the Vitthala Temple in Hampi, south India.

Compound pier or cluster pier is the architectural term given to a clustered column or pier which consists of a centre mass or newel, to which engaged or semi-detached shafts have been attached, in order to perform (or to suggest the performance of) certain definite structural objects, such as to carry arches of additional orders, or to support the transverse or diagonal ribs of a vault, or the tie-beam of an important roof. In these cases, though performing different functions, the drums of the pier are often cut out of one stone. There are, however, cases where the shafts are detached from the pier and coupled to it by annulets at regular heights, as in the Early English period.

A pilier cantonné is one type of compound pier. Compound piers can often be found in Romanesque cathedrals.[citation needed]

Pilier cantonné[edit]

A pilier cantonné is a type of compound pier commonly associated with High Gothic architecture. First used in the construction of the Chartres Cathedral,[citation needed] the pilier cantonné has four colonettes attached to a large central core that support the arcade, aisle vaults and nave-vaulting responds.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Compound Pier". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.