A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Click a letter to jump to its section (on this page). Terms beginning with a digit or symbol are listed at "#". Some terms taken from's glossary. Corrections and comments: Abbreviations: "rhcd" means Random House College Dictionary, rev. ed., 1982. Another nice site is JaneVadnal's Medieval Art & Architecture.

- A -

A tablet placed horizontally on the capital of a column, aiding the support of the architrave. (See illus. at architrave, def. 1.)
A solid piece of masonry used to support a projecting part of a structure, for example, the supports that connect a bridge with a river bank. Archit., Civ. Eng. a. a masonry mass supporting and receiving the thrust of part of an arch or vault. b. a force that serves to abut an arch or vault. c. a mass, as of masonry, receiving the arch, beam, truss, etc., at each end of a bridge. [rhcd 7]

1. a fortified hill in an ancient Greek city.  2. the Acropolis, the citadel of Athens and the site of the Parthenon. (rhcd 13)
1. sun-dried brick.  2. a yellow silt or clay, deposited by rivers, used to make bricks.  3. a building constructed of such bricks.  4. a dark, heavy soil, containing clay. (rhcd 19)
A continuous aisle in a circular building, as in a church. (rhcd 43): 1. an aisle surrounding the end of the choir or chancel of a church.  2. the covered walk of a cloister.
adj. (of a classcal temple) prostyle on both fronts. — amphiprostylar, adj.(see also prostyle) [rhcd 46]
n., pl. ancones (ank-koh'-neez) 1. the elbow. 2. Arch. a bracket or console, as one supporting part of a cornice. (picture) [rhcd 50]
n., pl. -tae. a rectangular pier or pilaster, esp. one formed by thickening the end of a masonry wall. [rhcd 56]
A semicircular area; in most churches it contains the altar. (rhcd 67):a vaulted semicircular or polygonal recess in a building, esp. at the end of the choir of a church. (See also the illus. at basilica)

A, Apse
Ornament consisting of garlands of foliage with figures, fancifully interlaced to form graceful curves and painted, inlaid, or carved in low relief.
A series of arches supported by columns or piers, or a passageway formed by these arches.
A curved structure that supports the weight of the material above it. [rhcd 69]
är ki trave', n. 1. the lowermost member of a classical entablature, resting originally upon columns. 2. a molded or decorated band framing a panel or an opening, esp. a rectangular one, as of a door or window.

Architrave (def. 1)

Architrave (def. 2) The semicircular inset area above the architrave and enclosed by the arch is the tympanum

Architrave (def. 2)
Stones hewn and squared for use in building, as distinguished from rough stones. [rhcd 79]
In an ancient Roman structure, a central room open to the sky, usually having a pool for the collection of rainwater. In front of medieval or Christian churches, a courtyard flanked by porticoes.
1. the part of a building, esp. of a house, directly under a roof; garret. 2. a room or rooms in that part. 3. a low story or decorative wall above an entablature or the main cornice of a building. [special use of attic]

Attic, def. 3

Attic, def. 3
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- B -

A richly ornamented canopy structure supported by columns, suspended from a roof, or projected from a wall, as over an altar.
1. Archit. any of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing. 2. balusters, a balustrade. 3. any of various tapering or swelling supports, as table legs or spindles. [rhcd 105]
Archit. a railing with supporting balusters. (See illus. at baluster.) [rhcd 105]
1. a baluster, esp. a slender one at the edge of a staircase. 2. Sometimes, banisters. the balustrade of a staircase. Also, bannister. [rhcd 106]
(bang ket') n. 1. an upholstered bench, as along a wall in a restaurant. 2. Fort. a platform or step along the inside of a parapet, for soldiers to stand on when firing. [rhcd 107]
A style that flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, characterized by exuberant decoration, curvaceous forms, and a grand scale generating a sense of movement; later developments show greater restraint.

Baroque-style architecture
a small overhanging turret on a wall or tower. [rhcd 111]
Civ. Eng. a device operating like a balance or seesaw, esp. an arrangement of a movable bridge (bascule bridge) by which the rising floor or section is counterbalanced by a weight. [rhcd 111]
The early Greek name for a royal palace; a large oblong building with double columns and a semicircular apse at one end, frequently used by Christian emperors of Rome for religious purposes. 1. (in ancient Rome) a large oblong building used as a hall of justice and public meeting place. 2. an early Christian or medieval church having a nave, two or four aisles, one or more semicircular vaulted apses, and open timber roofs. 3. one of the seven main churches of Rome or any Roman Catholic church or cathedral accorded the same ceremonial privileges. [rhcd 112]
Often, battlements. a parapet or cresting consisting of a regular alternation of merlons and crenels; crenelation. [rhcd 115]

Another battlement
The style of the Bauhaus School, founded in Germany by Walter Gropius in 1919, emphasizing simplicity, functionalism, and craftsmanship.
(BEL-free) n. 1. a bell tower, either attached to a building or standing apart. 2. the part of a steeple or other structure in which a bell is hung. 3. a frame of timberwork for sustaining a bell. [rhcd 123]
(BELL-ve-deer, for 2 also It. BELL-ve-DE-RE) n. 1. a building designed and situated to look out upon a pleasing view. 2. (cap.) a palace in Vatican City, Rome, used as an art gallery. [rhcd 124]
n., v., -ticed, -ticing. —n. 1. a partition or lining, as of planks or cloth, forming an air passage in a mine. —v.t. 2. to provide with a brattice; line with planks or cloth.
any external prop or support built to steady a structure by opposing its outward thrursts, esp. a projecting support built into or against the outside of a masonry wall.

A flying buttress
A style dating from the fifth century, characterized by masonry construction around a central plan, with round arches, low domes on pendentives, typically depicting the figure of Christ; foliage patterns on stone capitals; and interiors decorated with mosaics and frescos.
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- C -

A bell tower usually not actually attached to a church; also, lofty towers that form parts of buildings.
a slender, grooved bar of lead for holding together the pieces of glass in windows of latticework or stained glass (see illus. at quarrel). (rhcd 194)
A horizontal projection, such as a balcony or beam, supported at one end only.
the uppermost portion of a column, pillar, or shaft supporting the entablature. (rhcd 200)
a sculptured female figure used as a column.
1. a herdsman's hut in the Swiss mountains. 2. a kind of farmhouse, low and with wide eaves, common in Alpine regions. 3. a cottage, villa, ski lodge, or the like, built in this style. (rhcd 222)
the space about the altar of a church, usually enclosed, for the clergy and other officials. (rhcd 224)
1. the part of a church occupied by the singers. 2. (in a cruciform church) the part of the chancel reserved for the choir.
a panellike ornament consisting of five lobes, divided by cusps, radiating from a common center. (rhcd 243)

(rhcd 243)
A tradition of Greek and Roman antiquity, distinguished by the qualities of simplicity, harmony, and balance.
Classical Revival
The Italian Renaissance or neoclassical movements in England and the United States in the nineteenth century that looked to the traditions of Greek and Roman antiquity.
(KL?R'-st?r-?) a portion of an interior rising above adjacent rooftops and having windows admitting daylight to the interior. (rhcd 251)
1. a covered walk, esp. in a religious institution, having an open arcade or colonnade, usually opening onto a courtyard. 2. a courtyard, esp. in a religious institution, bordered with such walks. (rhcd 253)
one of a number of sunken panels, usually square or octagonal, in a vault, ceiling, or soffit. (rhcd 260)
1. a series of regularly spaced columns supporting an entablature and usually one side of a roof.  2. a series of trees planted in a long row, as on each side of a driveway or road. (rhcd 265)
1. a rigid, relatively slender, upright support, composed of relatively few pieces 2. a decorative pillar, most often composed of stone and typically having a cylindrical or polygonal shaft with a capital and usually a base. (rhcd 267)
Composite Order
A Roman order; its capital combines the Corinthian acanthus leaf decoration with volutes from the Ionic Order. (rhcd 276): 1. noting or pertaining to one of the five classical orders, popular esp. since the beginning of the Renaissance but invented by the ancient Romans, in which the Roman Ionic and Corinthian orders are combined. Cf. Corinthian (def. 4), Doric (def. 2), Ionic (def. 1), Tuscan (def 2). See illus. at order.
1. the top stone of a building or other structure. 2. a stone used for or in coping. 3. the crown or completion; finishing touch. [rhcd 296]
a finishing course or cap to an exterior masonry wall or the like. (see illus. at copestone) [rhcd 296]
1. any bracket, esp. one of brick or stone, usually of slight extent. —v.t. 2. to set (bricks, stones, etc.) so as to form a corbel or corbels. 3. to support by means of a corbel or corbels. [rhcd 298]
Corinthian Order
The last of the three Greek orders, similar to the Ionic, but with the capital decorated with carvings of the acanthus leaf.
The upper part of an entablature, extending beyond the frieze.
crenel (see battlement)
crenelated molding (315)
crockets (318)
(KYOO-pe-la) n. 1. a light structure on a dome or roof, serving as a belfry, lantern, or belvedere. b. a dome, esp. one covering a circular or polygonal area. 2. any of various domelike structures. 3. Foundry. a vertical furnace for melting iron to be cast. [rhcd]

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- D -

dado (334)
davit (339)
deadeye (341)
dolmen (393)
(stonehenge table)
A roof formed by a series of arches, roughly forming a semicircle.
Doric Order
The first and simplest of the three Greek orders and the only one that normally has no base.
dormer (395)
dosseret (396)
triangular byzantine capital
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- E -

The upper horizontal part of an order, between a capital and the roof; it consists of the architrave, frieze, and cornice.
of an arch, the outside edge (see illus. at arch)
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- F -

facade (472)
Any important face of a building, usually the principal front with the main entrance.
1. a string or chain of flowers, foliage, ribbon, etc., suspended in a curve between two points. 2. a decorative representation of this, as in architectural work or on pottery. (rhcd 488)

fleche (503)
gothic spire or steeple on the ridge of a roof or a valley intersection
fret (529)
also, fretwork
The middle part of an entablature, often decorated with spiral scrolls (volutes).
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- G -

gallery (540)
A spout placed on the roof gutter of a Gothic building to carry away rainwater, commonly carved fancifully as in the shapes of animal heads.

geodesic dome (552)
The prevailing style of English architecture during the reigns of George I, II, and III (1714- 1820), based on the principles of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The style was transported to England by Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren. It became the prototype for the colonial style in America.
A style employed in Europe during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries; also called pointed. It is characterized by the use of pointed arches and ribbed vaults, piers, and buttresses in the support of its stone construction. The style is best exemplified by the Notre Dame in Paris and the cathedrals of Amiens and Bourges.
1. the curved line or edge formed by the intersection of two vaults. (see "groined vault") 2. A small jetty extending from a shore to prevent beach erosion; also, groyne. [rhcd, 582] See Site Planning Standards by Joseph De Chiara & Lee E. Koppelman (NYC, McGraw-Hill, 1978) (marine structures, pp303-305)
groined vault
(graphics avail. but not yet inserted)
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- H -

header (608)
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- I -

Ionic Order
Second of the three Greek orders. Its capital is decorated with spiral scrolls (volutes).
of an arch, the inside edge (see illus. at arch).
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- J -

see site planning handbook (marine structure)
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- K -

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- L -

a barrel-vault roof formed of intersecting ribs set at an angle to each other (see folder)
lanai (ch. to UTF-8 encoding for pronunciation characters)
n. a veranda or open-sided living room of a kind found in Hawaii; a veranda or roofed patio often furnished and used as a living room
lantern (754)
1. a tall, more or less open construction admitting light to an enclosed area below. 2. any light, decorative structure of relatively small size crowning a roof, dome, etc. [rhcd 754]
Le Corbusier
Charles-E?Ldouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier (Wikipedia)
See post and lintel.
A rostrum developed in medieval Italian towns, roofed, slightly elevated, and open on three sides, from which orators could address crowds.
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- M -

marquee (819)
merlon (see battlement)
minaret (849)
A slender, lofty tower with balconies attached to a Muslim mosque.
modillion (858)
The measurement that architects use to determine the proportions of a structure, for example, the diameter of a column.
molding (859)
mullion (876)
vertical member betw. lights in a window (picture)
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- N -

An enclosed passage from the nave to the main entrance of a church.
The principal area of a church, extending from the main area to the transept.
Italian designer
newel (896)
spiral staircase center column
newel post (896)
A style of buildings erected by the Normans (1066 - 1154) based on the Italian Romanesque. It was used principally in castles, churches, and abbeys of massive proportions. Sparsely decorated masonry and the use of the round arch are characteristic.
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- O -

The opening in the top center of a dome, esp. that of the Pantheon in Rome. (c.f. oculo–; a learned borrowing from Latin meaning "eye," "ocular," used in the formation of compound words: oculomotor. Also, esp. before a vowel, ocul–. Latin oculus eye.) (rchd 921)
onion dome (929)
A term applied to the three styles of Greek architecture, the Dorian, Corinthian, and Ionic, referring to the style of columns and their entablatures; it also refers to the Composite and the Tuscan, developed from the original three orders.
order of arches (1421)
see illus at "tympanum"
order of columns (935)
oriel (937)
cantilevered bay window
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- P -

A temple or sacred building, typically in an Asian nation, usually pyramidal, forming a tower with upward curving roofs over the individual stories. (rhcd has a picture)
palladian (958)
window (rhcd has a picture)
pantile (961)
roofing tile (rhcd has a picture)
low wall or breastwork fortification n. 1. Fort. a defensive wall or elevation in a fortification. 2. any low protective wall or barrier at the edge of a balcony, roof, bridge, or the like. (rchd 965)
parquetry (968)
1. Archit. In a classical-style building, the triangular segment between the horizontal entablature and the sloping roof; also, a low gable or gablelike feature, typically triangular and outlined with cornices. (c.f. illus. at tympanum; the pediment is an architectural feature composed of the smaller elements, tympanum, cornices, arches, etc.) 2. Geol. a gently sloping rock surface at the foot of a steep slope. [rhcd 979]

Pediment (Def. 1)

Pediment (Def. 1)

Pediments (Def. 1)
n. A curved support shaped like an inverted triangle, used to support a dome. 1. Archit. any of several spandrels, in the form of spherical triangles, forming a transition between the circular plan of a dome and the polygonal plan of the supporting masonry. —adj. 2. in pendentive, Print. (of type) set in the form of a tringle resting on its apex. (rhcd 982)

(rhcd 982)

(wbstr 869)
pergola (986)
overhead trellis (five figures for examples obtained.see folder in my docs)
A large pillar used to support a roof.
n. a shallow rectangular feature projecting from a wall, having a capital and base and usually imitating the form of a column. [rhcd 1006]

(rhcd 1006)
plinth (1020)
porte-cochere (1033)
portcullis (1033)
portico (1034)
A structure usually attached to a building, such as a porch, consisting of a roof supported by piers or columns.

post and lintel
A method of construction in which vertical beams (posts) are used to support a horizontal beam (lintel).
proscenium (1062)
adj. 1. (of a classical temple) having a portico on the front with the columns in front of the antae. —n.. 2. a prostyle building or portico. (see also amphiprostyle) [rhcd 1063]
In ancient Egypt, a quadrilateral masonry mass with steeply sloping sides meeting at an apex, used as a tomb.
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- Q -

Also, quarry, a small, square or diamond-shaped pane of glass, as used in latticed windows. (rhcd 1080)
quatrefoil (1082)
queenpost (1083)
n. 1. an external solid angle of a wall or the like. 2. one of the stones forming it; cornerstone. 3. a wedge-shaped piece of wood, stone, or other material, used for any of various purposes. —v.t. 5. to provide with quoins, as a corner of a wall. Also, coin, coign, coigne. [rhcd 1086]
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- R -

Moldings and ornamentation projecting from the surface of a wall.
Styles existing in Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; adaptations of ancient Roman elements to contemporary uses, with attention to the principles of Vitruvius and to existing ruins. Symmetry, simplicity, and exact mathematical relationships are emphasized.
see site planning handbook (marine structure)
A style originating in France c. 1720, developed out of Baroque types, and characterized by its ornamentation of shellwork, foliage, etc., and its refined use of different materials, such as stucco, metal, or wood for a delicate effect.
A style developed in western and southern Europe after 1000 characterized by heavy masonry and the use of the round arch, barrel and groin vaults, narrow openings, and the vaulting rib, the vaulting shaft, and central and western towers.

Romanesque style
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- S -

see site planning handbook (marine structure)
skewback (1232)
abutment stone, springline
socle (1248)
on a plinth
A tall, tapering, acutely pointed roof to a tower, as in the top of a steeple.
spandrel (1259 pic)
n. 1. Archit. an area between the extradoses, or exterior curves, of two adjoining arches, or between the extrados of an arch and a perpendicular through the extrados at the springing line. 2. (in a steel-framed building) a panellike area between the head of a window on one level and the sill of a window immediately above. [rhcd 1295]
splay (1268 pic)
a surface that makes an oblique angle with another, as where an opening for a window or door widens from inside to outside. (rhcd 1268)
springer, springline
see illus. at "arch" and "spandrel"
steeple, spire (1286)
stoup (1296 pic)
a basin for holy water, as at the entrance of a church. (rhcd 1296)
stringcourse (1301 pic)
a horizontal band or course, as of stone, often molded and sometimes richly carved. (rhcd 1301)
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- T -

Ornament of ribs, bars, etc., in panels or screens, as in the upper part of a Gothic window. (1391)
A structure that forms the arms of a T- or cross-shaped church. (1395)
trellis (1400)
trestle (1401)
(in a church) the wall at the side of the nave, choir, or transept, corresponding to the space between the vaulting or ceiling and the roof of an aisle, often having a blind arcade or an opening in a gallery. (1404)
trompe (1408)
Masonry. a squinchlike structure for supporting an eccentric load having the form of a part of a cone, a sphere, or a vault.(rhcd 1408)
a column supporting a tympanum of a doorway at its center. (See illus. at tympanum) (1421)
A style of English architecture prevalent during the reigns of the Tudors (1485- 1558), transitional between Gothic and Palladian, with emphasis on privacy and interiors.
A small tower, usually starting at some distance from the ground, attached to a building such as a castle or fortress. (see also bartizan) (rhcd1418)

Tuscan Order
A Roman order resembling the Doric without a fluted shaft.
a. the recessed, usually triangular space enclosed between the cornices of a pediment, often decorated with sculpture. (see illus. at pediment) b. a similar space between an arch and the horizontal head of a door or window below. (rhcd 1421)

Def. a. The Pantheon in Rome, Italy. The pediment of this 2000-year-old building is the triangular piece above the columns. The tympanum is the area inside the triangle (plain, on this building). Source


Def. b.
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- V -

vermiculation (1462)
worm-like markings
An arched brick or stone ceiling or roof. The simplest form is the barrel vault, a single continuous arch; the groined vault consists of two barrel vaults joined at right angles; a ribbed vault has diagonal arches projecting from the surface.
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- W -

water table
NOUN: 1. A projecting ledge, molding, or stringcourse along the side of a building, designed to throw off rainwater.
In German Romanesque, a monumental entrance to a church consisting of porches and towers, with a chapel above.
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- Links -

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