In architecture, a pinnacle looks like a small spire. It is an elongated, pointed structure, usually tapering towards the top, crowning a buttress, gable or tower. It was often richly ornamented with crockets and was mainly used in Gothic architecture.
Crockets are small carved ornaments - usually in the form of a curling leaf - placed along the outer angles of pinnacles.
A buttress is a pier usually a thickened wall section that stiffens straight walls. Buttresses can be straight, sloping, or stepped. A stepped buttress is a buttress that narrows from the bottom to the top in steps.
Images are courtesy of the University Secretariat. Click on images for enlargement.
GREAT HALL PINNACLES
On all four sides of the building, the Great Hall has slender stone pinnacles decorated with crockets, which rise from stepped buttresses.
Detail of one pinnacle.
CLOCK TOWER PINNACLES
The Clock Tower has four domed pinnacles decorated with crockets and grotesques, which rise from the upper corners of the tower, photo, copyright David White.
A close-up of one of the four pinnacles, photo, copyright David White.
MACLAURIN HALL PINNACLES
MacLaurin Hall has a variety of pinnacles decorated with crockets and, in some cases, grotesques as well.
on the west face (facing Manning House)
The west face of MacLaurin Hall has its three smaller pinnacles at the front, the central one reflecting those on the Great Hall, and two larger pinnacles on either side, each supported by eight smaller pinnacles which also reflect those on the Great Hall.
A close-up of the left side pinnacle and the smaller pinnacles surrounding it.
on the south face (facing the Anderson Stuart Building)
The south face of MacLaurin Hall has two larger corner pinnacles (surrounded by smaller pinnacles) bookending seven smaller pinnacles.
A close-up of two of the smaller pinnacles.
on the north face (looking towards Parramatta Road)
The north face inside the Quadrangle has three pinnacles of two different designs.
A close-up of two pinnacles.
At the end of the north face, outside the Quadrangle, is one additional pinnacle plus the larger one described above (see west face).