Glossary of Architectural Terms
This is an evolving list of terms that are used on occasion throughout
this blog, sometimes frequently.
A series of arches supported by columns or piers, either attached to a wall or freestanding.
A continuous row or layer of stones, tile, brick, shingles, etc. in a wall.
A railing with supporting balusters (small closely spaced posts).
A beam or other projection that is unsupported at one end.
The top part of a column or pillar.
The most ornate of the classical Greek orders, characterized by a fluted column and a capital decorated with acanthus leaves.
A molding or ornamentation that projects from the top of a building.
A wall at the top of a fortified building with regular gaps allowing defenders to shoot from. Also known as battlement.
A nonstructural exterior wall, usually of glass and steel.
The oldest of the five classical orders, characterized by a fluted column with no base and a plain capital.
A window in a small, often gabled structure set vertically on a sloping roof, allowing light to enter
Semicircular, often domed recess.
A semicircular window, usually located above a door.
Ornamental garland, usually suspended from both ends.
A sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure.
A brickwork bond with alternating headers (short side) and stretchers (long side) in each course (row).
The horizontal part of a classical entablature just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings.
The triangular section of a wall on the side of a building with a double-pitched roof.
A grotesquely carved figure that serves as a spout to carry water from a gutter away from the building.
One of the classical orders characterized by a fluted column, a molded base and a capital decorated with volutes.
The central wedge-shaped stone at the crown of an arch that locks all parts together.
An architectural ornament representing a face or head. The head — either from a human or an animal — is often grotesque or frightening.
A projecting bay window on an upper floor.
A wide, low-pitched gable, often surmounting a colonnade.
A rectangular column with a base, shaft and capital projecting from a wall as an ornamental motif.
A roofed porch usually supported by columns, often leading to the entrance of the building.
A decorative element shaped in the form of four leaves.
Clay material that has been molded and fired, often used for building ornaments or cladding. Also written terra cotta or terra-
A small tower projected on a building.