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In architecture, a quadrangle is a space or courtyard, usually rectangular (square or oblong) in plan, the sides of which are entirely or mainly occupied by parts of a large building. The word is probably most closely associated with college or university campus architecture, but quadrangles may be found in other buildings such as palaces. Most quadrangles are open air, while a few have been glazed over often to provide additional space for social meeting areas or coffee shops for students.

The word "quadrangle" was originally synonymous with "quadrilateral", but this usage is now relatively uncommon.

Some modern quadrangles resemble cloister gardens of medieval monasteries, called garths, which were usually square or rectangular, enclosed by covered arcades or cloisters. However, it is clear from the oldest examples (such as Mob Quadmarker) which are plain and unadorned with arcades, that the medieval colleges in Oxford and Cambridge were creating practical accommodation for college members. Grander quadrangles that look like cloisters came later, once the idea of a college was well established and benefactors or founders wished to create more monumental buildings.

An aerial view of Mob Quad, Merton College, Oxford
In America, Thomas Jefferson's design for the University of Virginiamarker centered the housing and academic buildings in a Palladian form around three sides the Lawnmarker, a huge grassy expanse. Later, some American college and university planners imitated the Jeffersonian plan, the Oxbridge idea, Beaux-Arts forms, and other models. The University of Chicagomarker's Gothic campus is also notable for its innovative use of quadrangles.

Notable quadrangles


Educational establishments

Image:Garden Quad, Balliol College 2005-11.jpg|Balliol College, OxfordmarkerImage:Tom Quad, Christ Church 2004-01-21.jpg|Christ Church, OxfordmarkerImage:Mob Quad.jpg|Merton College, OxfordmarkerImage:Merton College front quad.jpg|Merton College, OxfordmarkerImage:Oriel College First Quad.jpg|Oriel College, OxfordmarkerImage:WadhamCollegeOxford.jpg|Wadham College, OxfordmarkerImage:TTeng.jpg|Texas Tech UniversitymarkerImage:UIUC main quad.JPG|University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignmarkerImage:Mizzou Jesse.jpg|University of MissourimarkerImage:UPennQuad006.jpg|University of PennsylvaniamarkerImage:Newman College Quad Dome.JPEG|Newman CollegeImage:USAFA Terazzo.jpg|United States Air Force Academy


Image:Hampton Court RJL.JPGImage:Plan of Buckingham palace.gif

See also


  1. "Quadrangle, n." Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. J.A. Simpson and E.S.C. Weiner. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. OED Online Oxford University Press. 29 June 2006.
  2. See the references at Mob Quad

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