West front of Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, showing four fluted Corinthian pilasters

A pilaster is an architectural element used to give the appearance of a supporting column, intended to articulate an extent of wall. It consists of an addition to the main wall surface, usually designed to look like a column with a capital at the top and a plinth at the bottom. If lacking a base and capital, it is known as a pilaster strip, or lesene;[1] when a pilaster appears at the corner intersection of two walls it is known as a canton.[2]

In contrast to the supporting column it is intended to emulate, the pilaster is merely decorative, and has no structural function.[1]



Ching, Francis D. K. A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1996.
Quiney, Anthony. “Pilaster.” Oxford Companion to Archicture, edited by Patrick Goode, Oxford University Press, 2009, https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198605683.001.0001/acref-9780198605683-e-0998.