A lesene, also called a pilaster strip,[1] is an architectural term for a narrow, low-relief, vertical pillar in a wall. It resembles a pilaster, but does not have a base or capital.[2] It is typical in Lombardic and Rijnlandish architectural building styles.[3]

Lesenes, corner lesenes and arch frieze on the tower of Old St. Martin, Kaarst


Lesenes are used in architecture to vertically divide a facade or other wall surface optically, albeit—unlike pilasters—without a base or capital. Their function is ornamental, not just to decorate the plain surface of a wall but, in the case of corner lesenes, to emphasise the edges of a building.



  1. ^ Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture
  2. ^ Curl, James Stevens (2006). Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 2nd ed., OUP, Oxford and New York, p. 442. ISBN 978-0-19-860678-9.
  3. ^ Mulder, Koen (2016). Het Zinderend Oppervlak [The Thrilling Surface] (in Dutch) (2nd ed.) (published January 2016). p. 157. ISBN 978-90-824668-0-5.