In architecture, a hypostyle hall has a roof which is supported by columns, as in the Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. The word hypostyle comes from the Ancient Greek hypóstȳlos meaning "under columns" (where hypó means below or underneath and stŷlos means column). The roof may be constructed of with bridging lintels of stone, wood or other rigid material such as cast iron, steel or reinforced concrete. There may be a ceiling. The columns may be all the same height or, as in the case of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, the columns flanking the central space may be of greater height than those of the side aisles, allowing openings in the wall above the smaller columns, through which light is admitted over the aisle roof, through clerestory windows.
With a combination of columns and arches, the hypostyle hall became one of the two main types of mosque construction. In many mosques, especially the early congregational mosques, the prayer hall has the hypostyle form. One of the finest examples of the hypostyle-plan mosques is the Great Mosque of Kairouan (also called the Mosque of Uqba) in the city of Kairouan, Tunisia.
The hypostyle is widely used in modern architecture.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- "Hypostyle", Random House Dictionary (unabridged) 2011.
- Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner's art through the ages : the western perspective, Cengage Learning, 2010, p. 265
- Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner's art through the ages : the western perspective, p. 267