Architectural Terms

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BAY - a section of a structure usually containing a door or a window

BARGEBOARDS -see vergeboards

BAY WINDOW - a projection from a wall containing a window

BELLCAST - an eave or roof that flares out and is bell-shaped

BELT COURSE - decorative horizontal band on building, usually composed of projecting and/or contrasting stone or brick

BOOMTOWN ARCHITECTURE - style of architecture characteristic of frontier towns that were built quickly. A typical feature is the false front which conceals a more modest structure

BRACKET - ornamental support for roof cornice, or arch or entablature

BUTTRESS - a vertical structure of heavy masonry or wood applied as reinforcement to the wall of a building. Can serve a structural or decorative purpose

CAPITAL - the decorative head of a vertical support such as a column or pilaster

CHANCEL -the sanctuary area in a church, near the altar, used by the clergy and choir

CLAPBOARD -thin wood plank siding applied horizontally, one overlapping the next

COLONNADE -a row of columns usually supporting the base of the roof structure

CORNICE -a moulded projection at the top of the wall (interior or exterior) of a building, or arch or window

CUPOLA -small domed windowed structure on top of a roof or dome, sometimes lantern-shaped

DENTILS -tooth-like projections in a cornice

DORMERS -window set in a gable projecting from sloping roof. Frequently admits light into bedroom; the word "dormer" is derived from the French verb meaning "to sleep".

DRIP MOULDING -a projecting moulding, usually above a window, that is designed to allow rainwater to "drip"

EAVES -underside of roof projection

ELL -an extension usually at right angles to one end of a building

ENTABLATURE -a horizontal component usually decorated that lies directly above a column or other support

FACADE -front of a building

FANLIGHT -fan-shaped (semi-circular or elliptical) window which usually forms part of door unit

FASCIA -a plain horizontal band

FINIAL -a vertical ornament usually applied to the peak of dormer

GABLE -triangular top portion of an end wall where there is a sloping roof

GABLED ROOF -a roof that slopes on two sides

GALLERY – long porch across a facade

GINGERBREAD -decorative woodwork

HIPPED ROOF -a roof that slopes on four sides

HOOD -a moulding located above a window or door to deflect rainwater

LANCET -a sharply pointed Gothic arch or window

LINTEL -horizontal support at top of door or window

MANSARD ROOF -a roof with double slopes; the lower part is nearly vertical and the upper part has a very low pitch. Named after the 17th-century French architect François Mansart.

MULLION -thin divisions that demarcate panes in windows or doors

NAVE -the section of church that accommodates the congregation

OGEE -a double curve, usually used to describe an arch, window or moulding

ORIEL -a rounded or multi-sided projecting window

PARAPET -a portion of the wall that projects above a roof

PEDIMENT -triangular component, inspired by classical temples, used above doors and/or windows, or on gable ends or building facades

PILASTERS -flattened column-like feature set against corners of house for stability or decoration. Also called cornerboards.

PORTICO -porch with columns and pediment

QUOIN -a protruding stone or brick that accentuates an exterior corner. Sometimes simulated on frame structures to look like stone.

RUSTICATED -heavily textured or rough-surfaced stone-work

RETURN EAVES -a moulding, which extends from eaves and continues around the corner of the house to simulate a partial pediment

ROUNDEL -a circular component usually applied to windows or panels

SASH -the frame that holds the glass in a window

SHUTTER -solid or slatted window cover located on building interior or exterior

SIDELIGHT -a window beside the door, forming part of the door unit

STRING COURSE -see Belt Course

TRANSOM - a horizontal window above doorway

TREILLAGE -a lattice or trellis, often used for growing vines and climbing plants

TURRET -an ornamental tower projecting from a larger structure

VERANDAH -covered porch

VERGEBOARDS -decorative trim along gable ends of a roof or dormer. Sometimes called "bargeboards".

VERNACULAR -structures, built without the help of a professional architect, which reflect regional and cultural adaptations of architectural fashions.