general definition for this term is something like ‘a
small ornamental structure placed atop a dome or a roof’.
While its origins have to do with rounded, decorative objects,
today the word may refer to a structure of almost any size
or shape that tops a building like an architectural explanation
Roof or barn cupolas may be small,
square, roofed structures themselves that are louvered
to provide ventilation.
There are a variety of styles available
for today's new structure or remodel. Some have square,
peaked roofs, some are domed. The louvers can be simply
mounted horizontally or may be built into structures that
look like domed shutters.
Cupolas can be large enough to be
structural additions to a house or building themselves.
A ‘’belvedere’ is a cupola usually on
the roof of a substantial house that acts as a small lookout
point. Usually square in structure, sometimes they will
have windows rounded across the top to break up the angled
architectural form of the structure
| On older
structures, a cupola may have been a structure atop a church
or other public structure designed for mounting a lantern or
light, or to provide ventilation to the structure below. Cupolas
remain popular additions to the roofs of new public buildings
designed with an eye towards architectural tradition.
Cupolas can range from small decorative additions to homes or ventilators for
barns to functional structural additions to houses and public buildings both
past and present. The key architectural component of a cupola is its decorative,
topping-off touch whether decorative or functional, past or present.