By Deane Barker tags: engineering, architecture

In it’s strictest terms, this is simply a physical element that’s only connected to a large structure at one end, so the other end “hangs out in space.”

Architecturally, a cantilever is a building structure that protrudes into open space, such as a balcony.

A great example is The Guthrie Theater and its observation deck which hangs out over the Minnesota River.

Why I Looked It Up

I posted to the Dull Men’s Club group on Facebook about some flagpoles. See the image above:

The text was this:

While my wife was shopping, I noticed with interest that these flagpoles are not simply affixed to the facade. Rather, they are fully cantilevered through the parapet.

Some people commented that “this isn’t a cantilever,” so I looked it up.

I disagree – it’s a cantilever even if it’s supported in the middle. It doesn’t matter where in the span that the support is located; it only matters that one end of the span is supported and the other is not.

However, someone else said something like, “This would be a cantilever even if the flags were affixed to the facade,” and this is correct. So I was right in one sense, but wrong in another.

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