Architectural Terminology

Arch

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

Brackets

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


Buttress

vertical member projecting from a wall to stabilize it or to resist the lateral thrust of an arch, roof, or vault.

Chimney

usually built of stone or brick (more modern chimneys may be of cinder block) and are located at either the exterior side walls of the building or at the center or interior of the building.

Column

A support piller found on porches and as a decrotive detail

Corbel

Block of stone, elaborately carved, projecting from a wall and sometimes supporting a load like the beams of a roof, floor or vault, or sometimes used for decorative effect only

column capital

Capitals are the tops of round columns and may be of several distinct types of order

cupola

Decorative, small, projecting tower at the top of the roof of a building, often square, round or octagonal in shape

Dormer

A structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface

Eaves

Edge of the roof that overhangs the exterior walls, sometimes with exposed rafters

façade

Front or face of a building; a surface appearance (as opposed to what may lie behind)

fanlight

Window, semicircular or semi-elliptical in shape, with glazing bars or tracery sets radiating out like an open fan

finial

Decorative piece set atop a spire, cupola, gable or gate post

floor plan

Layout of the various levels of a building, showing the location of rooms, interior walls, chimneys, porches and staircases

fluting

Series of shallow concave grooves, vertical on the shaft of a column

Frieze

The panel beneath the cornice at the top of a building' exterior wall which is often ornamented with brackets, dentils or medallions

Lintel

Horizontal beam over an opening in a wall that carries the weight of the structure above

masonry

Type of construction using stone, brick, tile or concrete block using mortar

molding

Decorative raised surface along the edge of an architectural feature such as a window, column, door or wall.

mullions





Thin bars made of wood or metal that hold in the glass of a window

parapet

Low stone or brick wall at the top of a building. A crenelated parapet has rhythmic breaks in the wall to create a pattern of battlements

pediment

The triangular space forming the gable end of a roof above the horizontal cornice.

pendant

A decorative piece (made of masonry or turned wood) suspended from a roof or vergeboard

pilaster

A slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall.

piller

Support column without classical detailing

porch

Roofed space outside the mains support walls of a building

portico

Small entrance porch

quoins

Decorative rectangles or squares of stone, brick, wood or concrete, placed at the corners of buildings to add architectural interest

rafters

Wooden structural support beams for a roof, sometimes visible on the exterior for certain building types and styles

roof

The top of the house. Roofs can be steep, flat or gently sloped and take many forms, gable, gambrel, hipped, stepped gable, shed, pent or Mansard.

sill

The horizontal member at the bottom of a window or door.

stoop

The steps which lead to the front door.

stucco

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

tower

Tall structure,either square or round in shape, rising higher than the rest of the building.

transom light

flat, glass panel above a door, usually multi-paned

wainscot

The wood covered lower portion of an interior wall, usually topped by a chair rail.