Pilasters, Columns & Pedestals

A column or pillar is a large round support with a capital and base and made of stone.  A column is a compression member, ie. it is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below.  Columns frequently support beams or arches.  Many columns form part of a wall.  A pillar is a tall and slender freestanding vertical support often used for decoration.

A post is an upright column or pillar.  Generally, in architecture, post and lintel (prop and lintel) refer to a system where a horizontal member (lintel) is supported at its ends by two vertical columns or posts.

A pier is an upright rectangular support for a structure or superstructure, such as an arch or bridge.  The lower portion of a pier may be widened to better distribute the downward pressure of a massive overlying structure.

A pilaster is a slightly projecting rectangular column built into or applied to the face of a wall.  A pilaster is an ornamental and structural column.  It is an upright architectural member that is rectangular in plan.  A pilaster is a rectangular support that resembles a flat column.  Structurally it is a pier but architecturally it is treated as a column.  Pilasters are sometimes used to support fences and gates.  They are also used to enclose mailboxes and light fixtures or to hold a planter or an ornament.

A pedestal is an architectural support, or base for a column, statue, vase, or obelisk.  Pedestals may be square, octagonal, or circular.  A single pedestal may support a group of columns.  Display pedestals showcase art or plants or sculptures.