An oriel is not a bird. It’s a bay window that doesn’t have a foundation. Instead, it cantilevers or hangs from a wall, often with brackets or corbels below. Folks tend to think of an oriel as a first-floor feature, off a kitchen or living room, but an oriel also can enhance both an exterior elevation and interior space when it is placed on the upper level of a home.
Think of upper-level oriels as another valuable tool in your design toolbox. Use them to provide shelter, to mitigate a flat facade, or to punctuate a roofscape, all while increasing the access to daylight and adding welcome pockets of space to an interior.
Here, I’ll explore three types of upper-level oriels and why you might want to incorporate one of them into your next project. Outside and in, they’re each a win-win.