Curious Cupola

The John Ashe Alston House on #South Battery Street was completed shortly after the Revolutionary War and features a design that was very much in style at the time, including the distinctive cupola on the top. Cupola means “little cup” in Italian, and was a detail originating from the Roman and Greek styles and made popular by Andreas Palladio in his “Four Books of Architecture” published in the 16th century, which influenced American builders and architects for many years. The idea of this centrally-located feature was both aesthetic and functional, gracing the looks of the building and allowing hot air to be released from within. This particular cupola also has a legend that it was used as a navigation light in the days when it faced South Bay, which was filled by the 1840’s to create White Point Garden.  <img src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”John Ashe Alston House ”>

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