"Balcony, external extension of an upper floor of a building, enclosed up to a height of about three feet (one metre) by a solid or pierced screen, by balusters (see also balustrade), or by railings. In the medieval and Renaissance periods, balconies were supported by corbels made out of successive courses of stonework, or by large wooden or stone brackets. Since the 19th century, supports of cast iron, reinforced concrete, and other materials have become common.
The balcony serves to enlarge the living space and range of activities possible in a dwelling without a garden or lawn. In many apartment houses the balcony is partly recessed to provide for both sunshine and shelter or shade. (In Classical architecture a balcony that is fully recessed or covered by its own roof is described as a loggia; [q.v.].) In hot countries a balcony allows a greater movement of air inside the building, as the doors opening onto it are usually louvered." ~ Encyclopedia Britannica