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Designations on the roof

The gable is the part of the wall of a building that is adjacent to the roof edges or roof overhangs that are higher than the eaves or protrudes beyond the roof (as a false, shield or free gable) . The gable-side facade of a building is also called the gable wall . It is often less wide than the long sides of the building and is then also referred to as the front side . The line of intersection between the gable and the roof or the roof overhang on the gable side is called the verge .

The word gable has been used in German since the 10th century (ahd. Gibil , mhd. Gibel ). The exact origin is considered unsecured. Connections with " head " (as top, head), as well as with " fork " (as tip, fork) are assumed.

The gable is one of the oldest and most important elements of European architecture.

An ornamental gable is understood to mean not only the decorated, decorated gable of a building, but also the reduced ornamental shape of a gable. Portal, door or window gables describe the motif of a gable that is used to crown these components. In the case of a protruding component, this is also referred to as a suspicion . In modern architecture , the gable lost this decorative meaning.


The shape of the gable depends on the shape and construction of the roof. The classic gable triangle is the result of the frequent shape of the gable roof . In a hipped a trapezoidal area is created while a building is equipped with a hipped gable no. According to the roof pitch (steep / pointed or flat) the terms pointed gable and flat gable also exist. An articulated gable adapts to the shape of the roof with several angles. With a barrel roof , round or segmented gables can be created.

The false gables of the Saint-Martin church in Le Bernard , Vendée , are significantly larger than the gable roof behind.

A dwarf gable (today often a transverse gable) stands midway (across, i.e. at right angles) to the gable of the main roof. A gable over a central projection, a protruding part of the building, is also known as a front spike or frontispiece. A gabled risalit that protrudes from the building is also known as a captain's gable in northern Germany.

If the shape of the gable does not refer to the shape or inclination of the roof, it is referred to as a front blind or false gable . In most simple roof constructions, the gable wall is surmounted by the roof surface and the gable follows the contour of the roof. If the gable is in front of the roof surface, one speaks of a free gable or shield gable . The roof connects from behind to the gable, which is higher than the roof and can be given its own shape. The gable edges of historic, representative buildings were also decorated with architectural sculptures. If the gable is significantly larger than the roof behind it, it is also referred to as a sham gable.

designation description Illustration
Triangular gable, also temple gable, pediment, fronton, front spike , frontispiece, ornamental gable The flat triangular gable can already be found in ancient Greek architecture . It was picked up in the Renaissance , Baroque and Classicism . As in antiquity, there is also the blown and cranked version. Numerous variations appear as crowning or roofing over doors and windows as ornamental gables.
Agrigento BW 2012-10-07 13-09-13.jpg
Stepped gable , also stepped gable or stepped gable With the stepped gable, the contour is stepped to the side. This shape was initially created for technical reasons, in order to be able to finish off the individual horizontally implemented stone layers and to be able to cover them with roof tiles. The stepped gable was dominant in the brick Gothic areas , especially in the North and Baltic Sea areas from the 14th to the 17th century. During the Renaissance , staggered gables were adorned with obelisks and volutes . Back then, volutes were used as ornaments to mediate between horizontal and vertical components. In this respect, the steps of the stepped gable were "blurred". The volute gable was created.
Tail gable The tail gable or curly gable has a curly outline.
Schweifwerkgiebel Gable decorated with a curvature .
Fotothek df tg 0006084 Architecture ^ triangular gable ^ segment gable ^ volute ^ building sculpture ^ vase ^ Erot.jpg
Volute gable The volute gable is framed by lateral volutes . In the Renaissance and Baroque periods, volutes were used as ornaments to mediate between horizontal and vertical components. Starting in Italy, this gable shape spread in many variations during the High Renaissance in almost all Renaissance countries, especially in the Netherlands and Germany, and was used until the 18th century.
Torun Male Garbary 7 szczyt.jpg
Blown gable The sides of the gable are not led all the way up, the middle part is left open. This feature of the gable design is always combined with a specific gable shape.
Prague Tysnka ul Detail.JPG
Cranked gable The middle part steps forward or backward compared to the side parts. This feature of the gable design is always combined with a specific gable shape.
Строгановский дворец (3) .jpg
Sham gable, also blind gable The gable shape makes no reference to the shape of the roof or the slope. This is particularly pronounced in the Inn-Salzach style .
City Hall Burghausen.JPG

These gable forms and designs were taken up again in the 19th century, in the architecture of historicism . Before that, they were used not only in architecture, but also in the design of furniture and other everyday objects.

Gable decoration

Gable rider on the historic town hall in Waiblingen

In ancient architecture, especially in temple construction, the tympanum is the triangular gable surface, which was emphasized by its size and frontality and provided with figurative or ornamental decoration. Gable field is a Germanization of tympanum, but also generally designates a gable triangle, especially if it is framed by cornices and sculptured.

The gable cornice is a cornice that accompanies the sloping gable leg ( verge ). The term oblique geison is also used in connection with ancient architecture .

A horizontal lower boundary line, for example as a gable foot cornice, is referred to as a gable foot.

The top of the gable , as the highest point of a gable, was particularly emphasized and designed.

The gable ear is a spike-like ornament on gable and tower tops, which was made from iron or baked clay in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance.

The gable flower is a name for a stylized flower, which, often associated with figures, badges and symbols, was used to crown gables and roof ridges, for example in the form of a finial .

The gable turret is a roof turret, a roof structure often as a small tower that sits on the gable. It is considered a feature of urban secular buildings, so it can be found, for example, in historic town halls.

The gable spit is in timber construction in Switzerland a highly guided on the gable addition wooden stand. In Westphalia, and there in particular in the Ravensberger Land , the gable spike or gable post or ridge post is referred to as a geck post .

The gable turret can mean an acroterion , an ancient architectural element to crown gables, or a replica of it in a later epoch.

The gable arch is a name for a pointed arch with straight arch legs, it occurs in Romanesque and Anglo-Saxon ornamentation.

The gable bench is a rare old name for Wimperg , a Gothic ornamental gable.


The gable is usually on the narrow side of a building. Since a layer of beams as the inner storey ceiling is normally stretched over the narrower distance, its beams are often parallel to the gable. The gable beam (or local beam) is the beam that is attached directly next to the gable (masonry). A so-called gable anchor connects a gable wall with a layer of beams. The aim is to anchor and stiffen the masonry. This technology can be considered historical, today reinforced concrete components are usually used for it. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, the anchoring of masonry in the wooden beam ceilings of the storeys with the help of metal anchors was still the common method.

Gable rafters are called the outermost rafters of the roof on a roof gable . Another name is gable girder. The gable column is the column - as a support - of a roof truss that supports the gable and carries the load downwards. A gable bundle is a combination of rafters and collar beams , either as a (lined) gable surface or directly behind a solid gable (made of masonry) as part of the roof truss. The gable threshold is the threshold of a gable container, in the case of half-timbered houses the threshold of the entire gable wall can also be meant.


Old town houses in Landshut: (from left) tail gable, stepped gable, hip roof, volute gable and eaves-standing house
Gabled houses of different shapes on the left and a house on the right in Landshut

Gable-front refers to the orientation of a building in relation to an opening street or a square. With gable-independent construction, the gable side of a building is parallel to the street, while the roof ridge is perpendicular to it. A building oriented in this way is also known as a gable house. In this context, a gable roof is a gable roof, the gable of which is part of the front of the building. Gable-independent construction is typical of German-language street scenes from the Gothic and Renaissance periods . The opposite term too gable-independent in architecture and urban planning is eaves.

Special gable structures

A gable tower is a tower with a gable roof, so it has two gables, the double gable tower has four. The double gable tower is covered with a cross roof. Others also use the term gable tower for a tower that sits on a gable, comparable to a large gable turret, and regardless of the roof shape of the tower.

A bell gable is a gable structure with one or more openings in which bells hang. The bell gable itself is often closed with a triangular gable. It can be found in small churches or chapels, especially in the Mediterranean region. Special forms are the three-part clochers trinitaires on the churches in the Basque Pays de Soule and the almost castle-like rectangular bell gables (French: clochers mur ) in the Toulouse area .

As early as the Middle Ages, many Romanesque church buildings in the south and south-west of France (especially in the Charente ) received a - often unadorned - rectangular gable, which indicated the real or symbolic readiness of the church and the residents of the respective locality in the run-up to the Hundred Years War .

See also

  • Schaumburger hat
  • Wimperg - in Gothic architecture a gable-like crowning over portals and windows, which is also known as an ornamental gable

Web links

Commons : Gable  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Paragraph after Kluge Etymological Dictionary of the German Language. 24th edition. 2002.
  2. ^ A b c sentence after Nikolaus Pevsner, Hugh Honor, John Fleming: Lexikon der Weltarchitektur. 3. Edition. Munich, Prestel, 1992, Lemma Giebel .
  3. ^ Paragraph after Wilfried Koch: Architectural Style. 27th edition. Gütersloh / Munich, 2006.
  4. a b c sentence after Hans Koepf , Günther Binding : Picture Dictionary of Architecture (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 194). 4th, revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-520-19404-X .
  5. ^ Sentence after Hans-Joachim Kadatz: Dictionary of Architecture. Leipzig, 1988, Lemma stepped gable .
  6. ^ Sentence after Wilfried Koch: Architectural style. 27th edition. Gütersloh / Munich, 2006, index Volute [819].
  7. ^ After Wilfried Koch: Architectural Style. 27th edition. Gütersloh / Munich, 2006, index Giebel [291].
  8. Nikolaus Pevsner, Hugh Honor, John Fleming: Lexikon der Weltarchitektur. Munich, Prestel, 1971, under gable .
  9. ^ Henry-Russell Hitchcock: Netherlandish scrolled gables of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. New York, University Press, 1978 (English).
  10. ^ Sentence after Wilfried Koch: Architectural style. 27th edition. Gütersloh / Munich, 2006, index Volute [819].
  11. ^ Sentence after Hans-Joachim Kadatz: Dictionary of Architecture. Leipzig, 1988, Lemma Volutengiebel .
  12. ↑ Composition after Nikolaus Pevsner, Hugh Honor, John Fleming: Lexikon der Weltarchitektur. 3. Edition. Munich, Prestel, 1992, Lemma Giebel . Comparable with Fritz Baumgart: DuMont's little technical dictionary of architecture. Cologne, 1977, Lemma Giebel .
  13. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Sentence after Günther Wasmuth (Hrsg.): Wasmuths Lexikon der Baukunst. Berlin, 1929–1932 (4 volumes).
  14. After Günther Wasmuth (ed.): Wasmuths Lexikon der Baukunst. Berlin, 1931. With Hans Koepf, Günther Binding: Bildverzeichnis der Architektur. 4th edition. Stuttgart, Kröner, 2005, it is understood to mean an arch construction, cf. Arch (architecture) #Gable arch .
  15. ^ Paragraph based on Hans Koepf, Günther Binding: Picture Dictionary of Architecture. 4th edition. Stuttgart, Kröner, 2005, Lemma bell gable .