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Doric columns on the Greek temple at Segesta, Sicily, c. 424–416 BC—SCALA/Art Resource, New York
In architecture, a vertical element, usually a slender shaft, that provides structural support by carrying axial loads in compression; columns are also subject to buckling. Columns may be exposed or hidden in walls; constructed of precast concrete, masonry, stone, or wood or of steel wide-flange, pipe, or tubular sections; they may be plain, fluted, or sculpted, with or without a capital and base. Columns may also be nonstructural, used for decorative or monumental purposes. See alsointercolumniation, order.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on column, visit Britannica.com.