Thin columns, spindly columns, columns which take their shape from structural arguments alone, will never make a comfortable environment.


When a column is free standing, make it as thick as a person—at least 12 inches, preferably 16 inches: and form places around it where people can sit and lean comfortably: a step, a small seat built up against the column, or a space formed by a pair of columns.

… certain columns, especially those which are free standing, play an important social role, beyond their structural role as Columns at the Corners (212). These are, especially, the columns which help to form arcades, galleries, porches, walkways, and outdoor rooms - Public Outdoor Room (69), Arcades (119), Outdoor Room (163), Gallery Surround (166), Six-Foot Balcony (167), Trellised Walk (174). This pattern defines the character these columns need to make them function socially.

You can get the extra thickness quite cheaply if you build the column as a Box Columns (216); complete the “place” the column forms, by giving it a “roof” in the form of a column capital, or vault which springs from the column, or by bracing the column against the beams - Column Connections (227). And when it makes sense, make the column base a Sitting Wall (243), a place for flowers - Raised Flowers (245), or a place for a chair or table - Different Chairs (251)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 1064medium-confidence