Cupola is a dome shaped structure that is installed on the top of the building. It usually crowns the larger roof or dome of the building. The word cupola is a Latin word, which literally mean inverted cup. Greece coined this name for the cupola as it look like an inverted cup when placed on the top of the building. The history of the cupola is very interesting. However, this article tells about the functions of the cupola.
Cupola performs a number of functions, like protection, acting as a vent, provides insulation, provides a place to see a large distance, a place to put a speaker, used to control the amount of light coming in the building and to make a building architecturally more beautiful. The first and the most important function of the cupola is the protection. As it can be seen that cupola were first used by the Muslims in their worships buildings, like mosques. The cupola provided the protection in a way that when people came to pray they didn’t have to stand under the open sky, instead they could stand beneath the cupola and be prevented from the sunlight. In old times, speakers weren’t there, so the top of the cupola served a purpose in calling the people or announcing something important.
The same use of the cupola can also be seen in the Christian’s there churches were covered a cupola instead of the roof. It was done to improve the looks of the church from the inside and for the holy person to go to the top and announce something important. Secondly, the cupola acts as a vent, as it has small windows or slits that can be opened or closed at the will of a person. In summer the slits were opened so that the hot air that rose upwards could escape from the top of the building and the cool air from below could enter the building thus making it cooler. Thus is could be said that the cupola were the first kind of the air conditioner, as the ACs today work on the same principle. Then in winter the slits could be closed to makes sure that the heat remained trapped in the building, making it warmer and comfortable. Thus here the cupolas acted as an insulator, by preventing the heat loss.
Another function of the cupolas were that, in the ancient times the domes were placed on the military building, with a watch post in it, so that a person could stand up there and look over the horizon and report if something unusual tool place, thus it acted as a place to key an eye on the things in and out of the city, and it could be said that it helped in improving the defense a bit. In addition to that entire cupola was used to increase the architectural beauty of the building, because if properly made with the design suitable for that building then the looks could be enhanced greatly. This was one of the major reasons why it was so popular in the Greece. Lastly, but not the least, the cupolas were also used to control the amount of light coming in the building, by using the slits present in it.