Terminology

29 January 2014 .

Architrave: In classical architecture it is a main beam resting across the tops of columns or it is the moulded frame around a doorway or window.

 

Awning: A metal frame clad with fabric attached over a window, door, porch opening or storefront to provide protection from the weather.

 

Baluster: One of a series of short vertical posts, often ornamental, used to support a rail.

 

Balustrade: A railing with supporting balusters.

 

Bay: A regularly repeating division of a façade, marked by fenestration.

 

Bay Window: A projecting form containing windows that rises from the ground or from some other support, such as a porch roof; see also oriel.

 

Block Plan: A drawing of a building’s foot print within an entire block in simplified, non-detailed form.

 

Bracket: A projecting angled or curved form used as a support, found in conjunction with balconies, lintels, pediments, cornices, etc.

 

Brick Kneeler: In a gable, the sloped-top, level-bedded stone which supports the inclined coping.

 

Brick Molding: A milled wood trim piece covering the gap between the window frame and masonry, which can be rectilinear, curved, or composite-curved.

 

Building Plan: A drawing that shows a horizontal view

 

Cantilever: A beam or other projection that is unsupported at one end.

 

Cap flashing: A waterproof sheet that seals the tops of cornices and walls.

 

Capital: The topmost member, usually decorated, of a column or pilaster.

 

Casement: A window sash that is hinged on the side.

 

Champfer: a symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner.

 

Coffer: A coffer (or coffering) in architecture, is a sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling, soffit or vault.

 

Coping: A protective cap, top, or cover of a wall parapet, commonly sloping to protect masonry from water.

 

Corbelling: A bracket of stone, wood, brick, or other building material, projecting from the face of a wall and generally used to support a cornice or arch.

 

Cornice: A molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building.

 

Crenelation: A wall at the top of a fortified building with regular gaps allowing defenders to shoot from.  Also known as battlement.

 

Cupola: A small, domed structure on top of a roof.

 

Curtain Wall: A non-structural exterior wall, usually of glass and steel.

 

Dome: A vaulted structure with an elliptical plan, usually a cross-section of a sphere, used to distribute an equal thrust in all directions.

 

Dormer: A window in a small, often gabled structure set vertically on a sloping roof, allowing light to enter the attic.

 

Double hung: A type of window with two sash, each sliding on a vertical track.

 

Drum: A circular or polygonal wall which supports a dome or cupola.

 

Eave: The overhanging edge of a roof.

 

English bond: A pattern of brickwork with alternate courses of headers and stretchers.

 

Entrance recess: The recessed opening in the facade leading up to the doorway of a storefront or building entrance.

 

Façade: The main exterior face of a building, sometimes distinguished from the other faces by elaboration of architectural or ornamental details.

 

Fairfaced Concrete: A concrete surface that constitutes a design element or is intended to be exposed that requires no additional treatment other than sealing

 

Fanlight: A semicircular or semielliptical window above a door, usually inset with radiating glazing bars.

 

Fascia: A horizontal, flat element often combined with a cornice and architrave.

 

Fenestration: The arrangement, proportioning and design of windows in a building.

 

Finial: A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure.

 

Flashing: Strips of sheet metal bent to fit the angle between any two roof surfaces or between the roof and any projection, such as a chimney.

 

Flemish bond: A pattern of brickwork in which each course consists of headers and stretchers laid alternately; each header is centred between the stretcher above and the stretcher below it

 

Floor Plan: A scaled drawing showing the horizontal arrangement of one level of the building that typically indicates walls, doors and dimensions

 

French door or French window: A tall casement window that reaches to the floor, usually arranged in two leaves as a double door.

 

Gable: The triangular section of a wall on the side of a building with a double-pitched roof.

 

Gargoyle: A grotesquely carved figure that serves as a spout to carry water from a gutter away from the building.

 

Gazebo: A freestanding ornamental pavilion – often at the top of a hill in a garden – that provides a view over the area.

 

Galvanized Iron: Iron that has been coated with zinc to inhibit rusting.

 

Glazing: The material, usually glass, that fills spaces between sash members (rails, stiles and muntins), commonly referred to as panes or lights.

 

Grille: A decorative, openwork grating, usually of iron, used to protect a window, door, or other opening.

 

Gutter: A shallow channel of metal or wood set immediately below and along the eaves of a building to catch and carry off rainwater.

 

Head: The upper horizontal part of a window frame or window opening.

 

Header: A masonry wall unit of brick which is laid so that its short end is exposed.

 

Historic Fabric: A building’s original or significant historic façade construction material or ornament, or fragments thereof.

 

Jamb: The side parts of a window frame or window opening, as distinct from head and sill.

 

Joist: One of a series of parallel timber beams used to support floor and ceiling loads, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls; the widest dimension is vertically oriented.

 

Keystone: The central wedge-shaped stone at the crown of an arch that locks all parts together.

 

Lintel: A horizontal structural element over an opening which carries the weight of the wall above it.

 

Lunette: The half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting.

 

Mansard: a roof which has four sloping sides, each of which becomes steeper halfway down.

 

Modillion: A projecting scroll-shaped bracket or simple horizontal block arranged in series under the soffit of a cornice.

 

Molding: A piece of trim that introduces varieties of outline or curved contours in edges or surfaces as on window jambs and heads. Moldings are generally divided into three categories: rectilinear, curved and composite-curved.

 

Mullion: A vertical primary framing member that separates paired or multiple windows within a single opening.

 

Muntin: A tertiary framing member that subdivides the sash into individual panes, lights or panels. Note: Grids placed between two sheets of glass are not considered muntins.

 

Newel: The main post at the foot of a stairway or stoop.

 

Oriel: A projecting bay window on an upper floor.

 

Palladian Window: A three-part window opening with a tall, round-arched center window flanked by smaller rectangular windows and separated by posts or pilasters.

 

Parapet: A low wall that serves as a vertical barrier at the edge of a roof, terrace, or other raised area; in an exterior wall, the part entirely above the roof.

 

Pediment: The triangular space forming the gable end of a roof above the horizontal cornice or an ornamental gable, usually triangular, above a door or window.

 

Pier: A column designed to support a concentrated load or a member, usually in the form of a thickened section, which forms an integral part of a wall; usually placed at intervals along the wall to provide lateral support or to take concentrated vertical loads.

 

Pilaster: An engaged pier or pillar, often with capital and base.

 

Pitched: Sloping, especially referring to a roof.

 

Plinth: A platform base supporting a column or pilaster.

 

Pointing: The treatment of joints between bricks, stone, or other masonry components by filling with mortar; also, called tuck-pointing.

 

Portico: A small porch composed of a roof supported by columns, often found in front of a doorway.

 

Pointed Arch: An arch with a pointed crown, typically seen in Gothic architecture.

 

Portico: A roofed porch usually supported by columns, often leading to the entrance of the building.

 

Quatrefoil: A decorative element shaped in the form of four leaves.

 

Quoin: A structural form, usually of masonry, used at the corners of a building for the purpose of reinforcement, frequently imitated for decorative purposes.

 

Rail: A horizontal sash member.

 

Reinforced Concrete: Concrete containing steel rods or metal netting to increase its tensile strength

 

Relief: Carved or molded ornament that projects from a flat surface.

 

Return: The part of a molding cornice, or wall surface that changes direction, usually at a right angle, toward the building wall.

 

Reveal: The side of an opening for a door or window between the frame and the outer surface of a wall, showing the wall’s thickness.

 

Sash: The secondary part of a window which holds the glazing in place; may be operable or fixed; usually constructed of horizontal and vertical members; sash may be subdivided with muntins.

 

Shingle: A unit composed of wood, cement, asphalt compound, slate, tile or the like, employed in an overlapping series to cover roofs and walls.

 

Sidelight: A vertically framed area of fixed glass, often subdivided into panes, flanking a door.

 

Sill: The lower horizontal part of a window frame or window opening; also the accessory member which extends as a weather barrier from frame to outside face of wall or the horizontal member at the bottom of a window or door.

 

Soffit: The exposed underside of any architectural element, especially a roof or the underside of a structural component such as a beam, arch, or recessed area.

 

Spalling: The chipping or erosion of masonry caused by abuse or weathering.

 

Spandrel: A panel between the top of one window and the sill of another window on the story directly above it; or an irregular, triangular wall segment adjacent to an arched opening.

 

Steeple: A tall ornamental structure, usually surmounting a tower and ending in a spire.

 

Stretcher: A masonry unit or brick laid horizontally with its length parallel to the wall.

 

Stringcourse: A narrow horizontal band of masonry, extending across the façade, which can be flush or projecting, and flat surfaced, molded, or richly carved.

 

Stucco: A coating for exterior walls made from Portland cement, lime, sand, and water

 

Surround: The ornamental frame of a door or window.

 

Terracotta: Clay material that has been molded and fired, often used for building ornaments or cladding. Also written terra cotta or terra-cotta.

 

Tie rod: A metal tension rod connecting two structural members, such as gable walls or beams, acting as a brace or reinforcement; often anchored by means of a metal plate in such forms as an “S” or a star.

 

Transom:  transverse horizontal structural beam or bar, or a crosspiece separating a door from a window above it

 

Tuck-Pointing: See pointing.

 

Turret: A small tower projected on a building.

 

Wrought Iron: Iron that is worked by being forged or hammered.

 

 

 

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