During the Reconstruction of Paris, the Baron Haussmann gave specific instructions to the architects designing buildings along the boulevards:

The eaves had to be at a 45 degree angle.
Each building was to take up the entire block.
Each building had to have six floors.
The upper floor and the penultimate floor had to feature balconies running the entire length of the block.

Finally, the corners had to be ??? ... to avoid featuring sharp or straight angles.

What is the word, or words, I'm looking for here?

Building in Paris fitting the requirements

  • 11
    I was thinking of "rounding" the corners. Have I been doing programming for too long?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:10
  • 15
    'Truncate' is what is used in geometry but architecture may use a different word.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:53
  • 3
    If you get a better answer, I won't mind if you change your acceptance,
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:58
  • 1
    If it's rounded or an arc instead of a sharp plane, it's a "fillet" en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillet_(mechanics)
    – user662852
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 4:41
  • 2
    I think @G.Ann-SonarSourceTeam meant to write, "the top two floors"... Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 10:25

2 Answers 2


bevel, The Free Dictionary

n. The angle or inclination of a line or surface that meets another at any angle but 90°

v. To cut at an inclination that forms an angle other than a right angle

Mirrors, and panes of glass in doors are often beveled and give a finished and elegant look to the object. A beveled building is a new one for me, and it is beautiful!

  • 17
    Bevels are usually 30 degrees or less. Any more than that, IMO, and you're approaching chamfer territory (45°).
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:55
  • 31
    Although bevel isn't "wrong" as such, from a technical viewpoint I (as a civil/structural engineer" would definitely prefer chamfer.
    – AndyT
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 10:41
  • 4
    I think it depends on to whom you're talking. If you want to use industry jargon while talking to an architect, chamfer, otherwise bevel is more widely understood. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 12:50
  • I've heard of e.g. edges of wooden boards being chamfered or beveled, but I haven't heard it of buildings. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 0:48
  • This is the accepted answer, but it's not right in this context. This is a chamfered corner - the best 'example' being the octagonal blocks of 'Eixample' in Barcelona.
    – Strawberry
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 13:19

chamfer /ˈ(t)SHamfər/

verb: in carpentry, cut away (a right-angled edge or corner) to make a symmetrical sloping edge.

noun: a symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner.


If that final form has an edge that is at a 45-degree angle, then it is a chamfered edge. As another known definition of chamfering is cutting grooves of varying shapes, it makes sense that a chamfered edge would be considered a “transitional edge.” But if it is an edge that isn’t perpendicular, doesn’t come to a sharp point, and isn’t at 45 degrees, then it is a beveled edge.

The beveled edge is on top and the chamfered edge is on bottom.

a beveled corner or edge in comparison to a chamfered egdge or corner

To break it down into much simpler terms, a bevel is an edge that is sloped and a chamfer is an edge that [...] connects two surfaces.

Bevel and Chamfer: What’s the Difference? www.jfberns.com

The words bevel and chamfer overlap in usage; in general usage they are often interchanged, while in technical usage they may sometimes be differentiated as shown in the image –Wiki

Finally, the corners have to be chamfered or beveled to avoid featuring sharp angles. The building in the picture has specifically chamfered corners, instead of just beveled, because they form 45 degree angles.

  • 1
    The various definitions seem to disagree as to whether a symmetrical angle on faces that would otherwise meet at an angle other than 90° would be called chamfered.
    – Random832
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 4:19
  • 8
    Also note that the Wikipedia article for Chamfer explicitly calls out the building designs of Barcelona (which are similar to the above) as examples, so it definitely can be applied to architecture and not just carpentry.
    – Random832
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 4:21
  • A chamfer is a side with two beveled edges. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 9:51
  • 6
    For me, chamfer is better than bevel here because it has more of the connotation of a) equal angles on each side and b) of removing a portion of a right-angled corner. In joinery, to make sharp edges more comfortable to handle, you chamfer them, you don't bevel them. However, I wouldn't be surprise if their was a different term used in architectural argot. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 13:25
  • @RedGrittyBrick - Agree with a), not so much with b). In carpentry, to make sharp edges more comfortable to handle you ease them. Actually chamfering them would be a design choice.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 19:42

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