The following list of terms provides the reader with a basic, general architectural vocabulary and does not elaborate solely on terms used in this architecture guide.
ARCHITECTURAL TERRA-COTTA (see TERRA-COTTA)
ADOBE Clay bricks of varying sizes cured by exposure to air and sun (as opposed to being fire. Adobe typically has a binder, such as straw, to hold it together.
ALUMINUM SIDING Exterior siding for buildings molded to imitate horizontal wood siding. (see also VINYL SIDING )
ARCADE A range of arches supported by piers or columns.
ARCHITRAVE (see ENTABLATURE)
ASBESTOS SIDING Thin sheet or “shingles” of pressed asbestos cement used for exterior siding.
ASHLAR (see STONE MASONRY)
ASPHALT SIDING Rolled asphalt impressed with mineral granules, also available in embossed brick
patterns for use as exterior siding.
BALUSTER A plain or ornamental post supporting the upper rail of a balustrade
BALUSTRADE A railing supported by a series of posts or balusters and sometimes by a bottom rail
BARGEBOARD A board, often decorated, covering the sloping edge of a gable roof.
BATTERED A column or wall surface that slopes as it rises.
BAY A regularly repeated element on a structure. For example, a house having three openings, a window, a door, and a window, would be considered a “three-bay” house.
BAY WINDOW A window or windows projecting from the outer wall that extend to the floor space. On the exterior, the bay extends to the ground. Not to be confused with an ORIEL WINDOW, which is a bay cantilevered or corbelled from the wall above the ground.
BELLCAST (see ROOFS)
BELTCOURSE (STRINGCOURSE) A horizontal course of masonry running across the elevation of a building.
BLIND ARCADE A row of arches applied to a wall surface to create a decorative effect.
BOARD AND BATTEN (see WOODSIDING)
BOX FRAME A wooded building frame where the weight of the roof is carried by the vertical members of the wall. Box framing customarily consists of vertical posts joined by horizontal plates, sills, and girts.
BRACKETT A projection, often decorative, that supports or appears to support and overhanging element such as an eave.
BRICK A solid masonry unit of clay burned in a kiln. Different designations are given to bricks depending upon their positions in a masonry wall. These include:
The process of manufacturing brick, whether molded or extruded, results in a variety of sizes and finishes.
BROKEN PEDIMENT (see PEDIMENT)
BUILDERS’ HANDBOOKS Books intended to provide builders with specific technical information on such things as laying out complex geometric figures, reproducing the classical orders, and building stairs.
CAPITOL The decorative top of a column or pilaster (see ORDERS)
CASEMENT WINDOW A window hinged on the side
CAST IRON Molten iron poured into molds. Used as both a decorative and structural element in the late nineteenth century. Strong in compressive strength and week in tensile strength.
CAVETTO CORNICE A concave molding at least a quarter round.
CERAMIC VENEER (see TERRA-COTTA)
CLAPBOARD (see WOODSIDING)
CLINKER BRICK A brick whose shape has been distorted during the burning process because of its proximity to the fire.
CLIPPED GABLE ROOF (see ROOFS)
COBBLESTONE A naturally round stone used for walls, foundations, and columns. Also referred to as a creek stone.
COMPOSITE (see ORDERS)
CONCRETE A combination of cement, large and small aggregate, and water placed in its liquid state in forms until set.
Lime concrete and mud concrete refer to an indigenous form of concrete containing specific proportions of lime and/or mud.
Reinforced concrete contains some type of reinforcement such as metal bars
CONCRETE BLOCK Concrete molded into the form of a hollow or solid unit and used like a brick or stone and a masonry building material. Incorrectly referred to as a cement block.
COPING A protective layer or cap to a wall of masonry constructed of stone, wood, metal, etc., and often angled or double beveled to prevent water from penetrating the wall
CORBEL A projection, usually in a masonry wall, either of masonry or another material structurally supporting something or used in a decorative manner.
CORINTHIAN (see ORDERS)
CORNER BOARD A vertical board placed at the corner placed at the corner of a wood-frame building.
CORNICE (see ENTABLATURE)
CORNICE RETURN The continuation of a cornice in a different direction.
EAVE The projecting edge of a roof.
EGG AND DART MOLDING A molding common to classical architecture and represented by an alternating pattern of an egg shape and a dart-like motif.
ELEVATION The vertical plane of one exterior side of a building, often represented in an architectural drawing.
ELL A secondary wing or extension to a building usually placed to the rear at a right angle to the primary structure.
ELLIPTICAL ARCH (see ARCH)
ENTABLATURE The top or beam member of a classical order carried on columns and composed of three parts: architrave, the lowest zone; frieze, the middle zone; and the cornice, or uppermost zone. Each is treated in a manner characteristic of a particular order.
FAÇADE The front or main elevation of a building. The “principal façade” is the side facing the major thoroughfare.
FANLIGHT A semi-elliptical window set above a doorway with radiating muntins.
FINIAL (see also HIP KNOB) A terminal, decorative element atop a tower, pinnacle, gable, or spire.
FLAT ARCH (see ARCH)
FLUTING Grooves or channels, usually semicircular in section and often used decoratively on the shafts of columns.
FRIEZE (see ENTABLATURE)
GABLE ROOF (see ROOFS)
GAMBREL ROOF (see ROOFS)
GARLAND A sculpted ornament of leaves or flowers in a wreathlike form.
HALF-TIMBERING A form of construction dating from the medieval period using wood framing with the intervening spaces filled with masonry.
HEADER (see BRICK)
HIP ROOF (see ROOFS)
HIP KNOB A finial.
HOOD MOLDING A drip molding which projects over a doorway or window.
HORSESHOE ARCH (see ARCH)
INGLENOOK An area, sometimes recessed, with a fireplace and built-in seating.
IONIC (see ORDERS)
JACK ARCH (see ARCH)
KEYSTONE A wedge-shaped stone located at the apex of an arch.
KING POST TRUSS A triangular frame formed by to inclined members rising from a central strut or post.
LANCET WINDOW A narrow window culminating in a pointed Gothic arch.
LEADED GLASS Sash in which the panes are held together with lead cames or strips.
LIGHT A single pane of glass in a window.
LINTEL A beam place over an opening such as a doorway or window and supporting the weight of the wall above it.
LOGGIA A passage or gallery with an arcade on one or both sides attached to or incorporated into a building.
MANSARD ROOF (see ROOFS)
MOLDING A continuous band usually projecting from the wall surface for the purpose of accenting or decorating a surface.
MOORISH ARCH (see ARCH)
MULLION A vertical element such as a column or piers separating windows, doorways, or wall openings.
MUNTINS The bars separating panes in a window or glazed door.
NOTCH (see LOG NOTCHES)
OCCULUS A circular opening or window.
OGEE (OGIVE) (see ARCH)
ORDERS In classical architecture and order refers to a specific type of column and entablature depending on its style. These include the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite and Tuscan. Orders are most easily identifiable by their distinctive capitals.
ORIEL WINDOW A bay with windows cantilevered or corbelled from the wall surface above the ground (see also BAY WINDOW).
PALLADIAN WINDOW A window opening consisting of three parts: a large round-headed window in the center flanked by two smaller, rectangular windows.
PARTY WALL A wall used jointly by two parties; a common wall.
PASSAGE A hallway or walkway.
PATTERN BOOK A type of architectural mail-order catalog containing plans for specific building designs.
PEDIMENT In classical architecture the triangular gable created by the slope of the roof and the cornice of the entablature (see drawings). Pedimented doorways are a common decorative motif in the Neoclassical and Colonial Revival styles.
PEDIMENTED WINDOW HEAD The upper cross member of a window in the shape of a triangle.
PENDANT A hanging ornament.
PILASTER An engaged pier projecting from a wall.
PLASTER/STUCCO VENEER A mixture of lime, cement, sand, and water applied to the surface of a building.
POLYCHROMY Architectural materials in more than one color.
PORTE COCHERE A covered passageway for vehicles connected to a building near its entrance; also referred to as a carriage porch.
PORTICO An entrance porch supported by columns.
PRESSED METAL Sheet metal embossed with various decorative patterns and used to cover exterior and interior walls and ceilings.
PURLIN A horizontal framing member resting upon the roof trusses, principal rafters, and/or the end walls of a building to support the common rafters atop which the roofing is laid.
PYRAMIDAL ROOF (see ROOFS)
QUATREFOIL A four-lobed figure often employed as a decorative element.
QUOINS Emphasized cornerstones in a wall. Traditionally incorporated into the masonry to strengthen the corners, they are often employed as decorative, non-load-bearing elements.
RAFTER A wooden frame member stretching from the ridge to the eave of the roof.
RAKING CORNICE The cornice that follows the slope of the roof (see also PEDIMENT).
REINFORCED CONCRETE (see CONCRETE)
RIDGE The highest point in a sloped roof. The ridge beam is the horizontal beam to which the rafters are affixed.
ROCK-FACED STONE (see STONE MASONRY)
RUSTICATED (see STONE MASONRY)
SASH A frame for windows, either fixed or movable
SCROLLWORK Wood ornamentation in scroll-like patterns often cut with a scroll saw.
SEGMENTAL ARCH (see ARCH)
SHINGLE PATTERNS (WOOD) These patterns are most often used on vertical surfaces.
SIDELIGHT A fixed window flanking the sides(s) of a door.
SILL The main framing member above the foundation to which the wall members are fastened.
SINGLE-WALL CONSTRUCTION A building method that used single walls without the frame typically used in balloon-frame construction. In Utah this form of construction was most often undertaken without the aid of a foundation.
SKINTLED BRICK (see MORTAR JOINTS)
STRETCHER (see BRICK)
STRINGCOURSE A horizontal band of masonry, flush or projecting, running across the façade of a building.
STUCCO (see PLASTER)
STUD One of a series of upright posts or supports in a wall partition.
STYLEBOOK Popular architectural books of the mid-nineteenth century introducing new building styles. These books contained treatises on taste and romanticized drawings of buildings intended to convince prospective buyers of the attractiveness of the new designs.
SURROUND A border, such as a molding or trim, framing an opening in a wall.
SWAG A decoration in relief resembling garlands or gathered drapery.
SWAN’S NECK PEDIMENT (see PEDIMENT)
TERR-COTTA Often referred to a architectural terra-cotta or ceramic veneer; it is a burned clay product with a glazed or unglazed surface used in building construction used for fireproofing, roof tiles, or exterior decoration on buildings.
TRACERY Mullions and branch-like window bars most common to the upper portion of a gothic window.
TRANSOM OR TRANSOM LIGHT A window, either fixed or movable, positioned above an opening in a wall.
TUDOR ARCH (see ARCH)
TURRET A small tower corbeled from the corner of a building.
TUSCAN (see ORDERS)
VERANDA A covered porch running along the exterior of a building.
VIGA A roof beam, often in the form of a log, projecting from the wall. Common to the Native American architecture of the Southwest.
WAINSCOT A material, such as wood paneling, applied to the lower portion of an interior wall.
WALL DORMER A dormer that intersects both the wall of a building and the pitch of the roof.
WATER TABLE A projecting ledge near the base of a building, usually covered with a drip molding or beveled course to throw off water and frequently marking the transition between the basement and the first story.