Chimera (architecture)

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An otter chimera

Used in describing an architectural feature, chimera means a fantastic, mythical or grotesque figure used for decorative purposes. Chimerae are often described as gargoyles. Used correctly, the term gargoyle refers to mostly eerie figures carved specifically as terminations to spouts which convey water away from the sides of buildings. In the Middle Ages, the term babewyn was used to refer to both gargoyles and chimerae.[1] This word is derived from the Italian word babuino, which means "baboon."

From Index Architecture:

The chimerical system produces cross-categorical couplings in which the initial systems are inextricably merged, that is, transformed into a system or systems with entirely new identities. Employing a 'chimerical mode,' the studio looked at ways of coupling categorically different systems by identifying and exploiting compatibilities and affinities between them.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Janetta Rebold Benton (1997). Holy Terrors: Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings. New York: Abbeville Press. pp. 8–10. ISBN 0-7892-0182-8. 
  2. ^ Kolatan, Sulan. "Chimera 3: Mongrel Structures," Advanced Studio V, Fall 1997.