Architectural Terms, What are architectural terms, Architectural glossary

Architectural Terms speaks to what are architectural terms, architectural glossary and architectural phrases used in the industry.

Below listed is a glossary of terms which provide a definition of the Architectural Terms used on this website presented in alphabetical order.

Acanthus leaf: A stylized Mediterranean leaf form used as a decoration especially for the capitals of Corinthian and Composite orders.

Apse: A semicircular or vaulted end to a church.

Arcade: A series of arches on columns or piers supporting a wall.

Arcuated construction: A construction that is, or appears to be, based upon arches for support.

Architectural Terms

Bakelite: An insulating or facing material manufactured from synthetic resins and resembling opaque glass.

Balustrade: A low rail supported by short posts.

Bay: The vertical divisions in a facade created by the rhythm of the doors and windows.

Bellcast roof: A roof that flares out at the eaves.

Belvedere: Am enclosed structure on the roof intended as a look-out.

Blind arcade: A row of arches applied to a wall as a decorative element.

Board and batten: Wooden sheathing of wide vertical boards placed side by side with narrow strips of wood (battens) covering the joints.

Bracket: a small projecting piece of stone or wood that supports a horizontal member such as the eaves.

Bull’s eye window: A round window also called an oculis.

Buttress: An exterior masonry support built into or against a wall to counter the lateral thrusts of a roof.

Architectural Terms

Cantilever: A horizontal projection balanced by the downward pressure of a vertical member on its pivotal point.

Casement window: A window that is hinged along the vertical edge and opens by swinging either in or out.

Chancel: The part of a church to the liturgical east of the nave or crossing containing the altar also known as the sanctuary.

Clocher: A bell tower or a room near the top of a tower where the bells are rung.

Colonette: A small decorative column.

Colonnade: A row of regularly spaced columns usually supporting entablature and part of a roof.

Column: A tall cylindrical support, traditionally decorated according to one of the ancient orders.

Console: An S curve bracket.

Corbel: A block that projects to support a horizontal member usually the eaves.

Cornice: A projecting moulding that crowns the top of a building and it also forms the upper part on an entablature.

Crenellation: A regular series of gaps in the parapet or low wall running along the top of a wall.

Cresting: Ornamental decoration along the roofline, usually made of iron.

Crocket: A decorative roof ornament, usually in leaf shape commonly found in Gothic Revival architecture.

Cross window: a window whose mullion and transom cross forming four lights and a cross shape.

Cupola: A small dome.

Architectural Terms

Dentil: A small blockusually part of a series of such blocks in the entablature of the classical orders.

Doric: See order.

Drip mouldings: A moulding over a door or window that casts off rain.

Architectural Terms

Ecclesiology: The study of the building style and arrangement of churches, particularly mineteenth century Gothic churches.

Elevation: The face of a building, an architectural drawing of the vertical projection of the face of a building.

English baroque: English classical architecture of the seventeenth and early eighteenth century.

Entablature: The upper horizontal bar or beam resting on the capitals of a classic order, whose parts consist of a cornice, frieze and architrave.

Earred trim: A moulding that frames the top and upper part of a window or door terminating in a short projection.

Architectural Terms

Fanlight: A small semicircular or elliptical window above a door with radiating bars resembling a fan.

Fenestration: The arrangement of windows on a building.

Finial: An ornament at the top of a gable or roofline.

Frieze: a wide band at the top of the order between the architrave and the cornice.

Frontispiece: An ornamental porch.

Architectural Terms

Gambrel: A ridged roof with two slopes on each side.

Giant order: An order that rises the full height of the facade.

Gibbs surround: The surround of a door or window that is composed of alternating large and small blocks of stone.

Glazing bars: The small members that hold the glass in place in a window.

Architectural Terms

Half-timbering: Exposed imitation timer-framing in which the spaces between the frame are filled with rubble or brick and may be painted or plastered.

Hipped roof: Roof with four pitched sides.

Hood moulding: A moulding that projects above a window or door to throw off rainwater.

Ionic: See order.

Architectural Terms

Key pattern: Ornamental design or fretwork of interlacing right angled lines in contrasting patterns of light and dark.

Keystone: The central stone at the apex of an arch of vault.

Label moulding: A square arched moulding that runs along the top and part way down a window or a door.

Lancet: Gothic, narrow pointed window used mainly in churches.

Lintel: A horizontal beam above a window or door that takes the weight of the wall above the opening.

Longhouse: A long structure built of bent poles forming a tunnel shape capable of housing several families.

Mullion: A vertical member in a window that subdivides the window into two or more lights.

Niche: A concave recess in a wall often intended to contain sculpture.

Oculus: A round or oval opening in a wall or at the apex of a dome. Sometimes louvred or glazed, also called a roundel or bull’s eye window.

Ogee: An arch created from a double curve, convex above concave and below.

Order: An arrangement of columns and entablature in classical architecture. Specific styles of columns and detailing are divided into five main categories: Doric, Ioninc< Corinthian (the Greek orders), Tuscan and Composite (the Roman orders).

Oriel: A bay window projecting from an upper storey.

Palladian window: A three part window consisting of a tall centre window, usually round-headed, flanked by two shorter, narrower windows.

Parapet: A low wall at the edge of a roof or balcony.

Pavilion: A subsection of a larger building, usually projecting, sometimes distinguished by a different roof shape or surface treatment usually at the centre or ends of a building.

Pediment: The triangular gable end of a roof usually over an entrance or window, sometimes decorated with sculpture. Variations of the simple triangular form include curved sides or sides broken off at the apex.

Pier: A vertical stone or brick support, usually square or rectangular.

Pilaster: A pillar or pier attached to a wall usually in one of the classical orders.

Plinth: The base of a column, pilaster, door frame or wall resembling a platform.

Portico: A covered porch or walkway supported by columns.

Quoin: A protruding stone or brick that accentuates an exterior corner.

Reinforced concrete: Concrete strengthened by the addition of at least 0.2 percent structural steel.

Rose window: A large circular window with radiating tracery or glazing bars often filled with stained glass.

Rosette: a round motif applied to a wall or as a centre ceiling decoration usually decorated with floral or leaf motifs.

Rustication: Cut stone with textured block faces.

Sidelight: A window beside a door often in flanking pairs.

Sill: The horizontal piece at the bottom of a window frame or the bottom of the door fram resting on the foundation.

Speed-stripes: Horizontal decorative stripes applied to Moderne and Art Deco designs to emphasize the aerodynamic shapes and heighten the sensation of movement and speed.

Stringcourse: A protruding band that runs horizontally along the facade of a building usually between storeys.

Structural steel frame: A building system in which steel members such as girders and beams support the weight of the building.

Terazzo: flooring manufactured from marble chips irregularly set in cement and highly polished.

Tourelle: A turret or small round tower projecting from the upper corner of a wall.

Transom: Strictly refers to a horizontal bar over a window or door but often used to describe a window above a transom bar.

Trefoil: A three lobed cloverleaf pattern.

Tudour arch: A shallow pointed arch ( a four centred arch).

Vault: A covering over an arched area. Varied shapes include, a barrel vault, which is a semicircular or barrel shape, fan vault, Gothic style vault in a concave conical shape, rib vault which is a vault in which the ribs support the web between.

Vernacular building: Building not designed by a professional architect and usually deriving its form and materials from local or inherited tradition.

Voussoirs: Wedge shaped stones or bricks set in an arch often over a window or doorway.

Ziggurat: Refers to the shape of stepped back skyscrapers and derives from Mesopotamian and pre-Columbian temples which rose in stages of successfully diminishing size.

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