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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? – Andrew Grimm Jul 28 '17 at 2:10
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    'Truncate' is what is used in geometry but architecture may use a different word. – Mitch Jul 28 '17 at 2:53
  • 3
    If you get a better answer, I won't mind if you change your acceptance, – ab2 Jul 28 '17 at 2:58
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    If it's rounded or an arc instead of a sharp plane, it's a "fillet" en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillet_(mechanics) – user662852 Jul 28 '17 at 4:41
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    I think @G.Ann-SonarSourceTeam meant to write, "the top two floors"... – Toby Speight Jul 31 '17 at 10:25
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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!

  • 16
    Bevels are usually 30 degrees or less. Any more than that, IMO, and you're approaching chamfer territory (45°). – Mazura Jul 28 '17 at 2:55
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    Although bevel isn't "wrong" as such, from a technical viewpoint I (as a civil/structural engineer" would definitely prefer chamfer. – AndyT Jul 28 '17 at 10:41
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    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. – Todd Wilcox Jul 29 '17 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. – immibis Jul 31 '17 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 Jul 31 '17 at 13:19
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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.

Google


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.

enter image description here

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 Jul 28 '17 at 4:19
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    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 Jul 28 '17 at 4:21
  • A chamfer is a side with two beveled edges. – Cees Timmerman Jul 28 '17 at 9:51
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    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. – RedGrittyBrick Jul 28 '17 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 Jul 28 '17 at 19:42
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Chamfered if he is trying to avoid 90 degree angles and still remain formal. Rounded if he is trying to avoid angles all together. It sounds like he is trying to simply avoid 90 degree angles so I would go with Chamfered. If it were a modern case, I would definitely refer back to the client to clarify what he intended.

  • Hi Scott, welcome to ELU. While Chamfered may well be the correct answer, would you mind adding some sources to support your answer? – Bhoomika Arora Jul 31 '17 at 10:43
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    Welcome to ELU. Please take the tour and note that this isn't a discussion forum, but a Question and Answer site. There's a picture in the question which clearly isn't rounded. And chamfered has already been given with a much better explanation. Therefore I don't see that your answer is adding anything. If you agree with another answer you should upvote it rather than post a new answer. – AndyT Jul 31 '17 at 11:37

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