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What is a Clerestory Window?

Natural Light Comes from Above

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Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows on the Zimmerman house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Photo by Jackie Craven Clerestory windows at the Italian Byzantine Church of Saint Vitale in Ravenna

Clerestory windows at the Italian Byzantine Church of Saint Vitale in Ravenna

Photo by Jackie Craven

Definition:

A clerestory is a high wall with a band of narrow windows along the very top. The clerestory wall usually rises above adjoining roofs.

Originally, the word clerestory referred to the upper level of a church or cathedral.

Pronunciation:

Clerestory is pronounced clear story.

Examples:

Clerestory windows illuminate the kitchen of Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House.

Early Christian Byzantine Architecture featured these windows to shed overhead light into the massive spaces builders were beginning to construct.

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