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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.