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or Cluster pier
is the architectural
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...
term given to a clustered column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...
or pier which consists of a centre mass or newel
A newel, also called a central pole, is an upright post that supports the handrail of a stair banister. In stairs having straight flights it is the principal post at the foot of the staircase, but it can also be used for the intermediate posts on landings and at the top of a staircase...
, 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 arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...
es of additional orders, or to support the transverse or diagonal ribs of a vault
A Vault is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert lateral thrust that require a counter resistance. When vaults are built underground, the ground gives all the resistance required...
, 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 armulets at regular heights, as in the Early English
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...
These Compound piers can be found commonly in Romanesque style Cathedrals.