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Glossary

Arcade a covered porch supported by columns and joined by arches

Arches

  • Basket an arch with a flat top like the shape of a basket handle.
  • Flat an arch with a flat, horizontal underside.
  • Pointed an arch ending in a central point.
  • Round half-circle arch.
  • Segmenta an arch formed by only part of a circle.

Archivolt molding trim, usually masonry, edging an arch; commonly found in Gothic and Romanesque design.

Ashlar stone that has been cut and dressed with even edges. There may be a variety of surface finishes.

Balcony a platform cantilevered out from the facade of a building, surrounded by a handrail, and sometimes supported by brackets.

Baltimore chimney a pair of chimneys at the end of a building which are joined together by a parapet wall; an element characteristic of Federal buildings.

Baluster short posts or spindles supporting a handrail.

Balustrade a short railing, often constructed around porches, with a horizontal handrail on top, and a row of individual vertical members (or balusters) below.

Bank any group of architectural features, often used in reference to a row of windows.

Bay the vertical division of a building facade.

Belt course a wide horizontal band of stone or brick between the stories of a building. See string course.

Blind an architectural opening attached to a wall (i.e., a window or arcade), which is decorative only and does not pierce the wall surface.

Block part of a building that is definable as a separate section.

Board and batten siding vertical wood siding in which two wide boards are laid side by side, the joint between them covered by a narrow wood strip.

Boxed cornice the enclosure between the overhang of a roof, and the building facade.

Brackets ornamental pieces placed under eaves, cornices, window sills, etc., which appear to provide structural support. Bullnose brick a brick that is rounded at one end.

Buttress a short wall built perpendicular to the main outer wall of a building, supporting or appearing to support, the exterior wall.

Cartouche an oval ornamental panel.

Capital the decorative top of a column or pilaster.

Clapboards exterior covering of frame buildings in which overlapping boards are placed horizontally.

Clerestory the side walls of the main part of a church, which extend above the roof of the side aisles, and which usually have many windows.

Column a round pier with a base, shaft and capital, usually supporting a projecting porch roof.

Compound arch narrow arches set one within the other to form a larger arch. Commonly found in church design.

Cupola a small domed structure rising from a roof or tower.

Corbel table a line of corbelling, often forming arches, usually decorating the parapets of Romanesque Revival buildings.

Corbelling small projections built out from a masonry wall, where each course extends out further than the one below. Most often corbelling in St. Louis occurs at the cornices of brick buildings.

Corinthian order a classical order with a foliated capital, slender columns and ornate, delicate trim at the base of the cornice.

Cornice a projecting decorative element at the top of a wall.

Course a single horizontal line of masonry on a facade.

Crocket decorative pieces in leaf shapes placed on the edge of exterior features of a building such as gables and pediments, found regularly in Gothic Revival architecture.

Cruciform plan the design of a building, usually a church, shaped Eke a cross, with a long section or nave, intersected at right angles by a shorter section, called a transept

Crown the top of an arch; also used to refer to the ornamental head of a door or window.

Dentils small, vertical pieces in a simple, rectangular pattern that are most often seen as part of Greek Revival or Classical ornament.

Diaperpattern a diamond-shaped pattern of brick across a facade, usually seen in Jacobethan or Tudor Revival buildings.

Doric order a classical order defined by a plain capital and a frieze with vertical grooves set at intervals across the cornice.

Dormer a projecting window from a sloped roof. The most common dormer type in St. Louis has a small gable roof. When the dormer is located in the same plane as the building wall, it is called a wall dormer.

Double-loaded corridor the interior floor plan, usually found in office buildings, apartments and hotels before the 1960's, in which rooms are entered off both sides of a hallway.

Eaves the portion of a roof that overhangs the wall.

Elevation an individual side of a building. See also facade.

Enclosed stair a stair encased by walls, and accessed through a door. These narrow, usually winding stairs are most often found in older house types.

Enframement heavy, decorative moldings around square window and door openings.

Engaged column a half-circular column that projects from a wall.

Entablature the upper part of a classical order, containing a cornice and frieze.

Fa├žade a side of a building. See elevation.

Fascia the boards found on the facing, or outside vertical surface, of projecting architectural features, especially cornices.

Fishscale shingles individual wood shingles with a curved end, which when laid together form the appearance of a fish's scales.

Flanking located at one or, more usually, both sides.

Fiat-iron building a building whose footprint or floorplan is roughly triangular, or in the shape of a "flat-iron." Often constructed at the intersection of three streets.

Flats a property type in which there are two or more dwelling units, each having its own front door and rear entry.

Flemish bond a brick wall with a pattern of alternating headers and stretchers at each course. Often, some of the headers are burned or glazed black to form a decorative pattern on the facade.

Foliated decorative designs shaped like leaves that adorn interior and exterior architectural elements.

Frame construction a building supported structurally by wood members.

Frieze a flat, horizontal band, that extends below a cornice or pediment. Found most often in Greek and Classical Revival designs.

Gable the triangular end of the exterior wall of a building with a gable roof. See also roofs.

Gallery a long roofed porch. This term is derived from the French term gallerie, to describe a porch associated with French Colonial architecture, often built above the first story.

Gingerbread trim wood trim boards usually found at gables and porches with delicate curves and scrolls.

Half-timber framing the use of wood pieces of varying length for either decorative or structural purposes. Most commonly in St. Louis, half-timbering is expressed on the exterior of houses in the Tudor Revival style. head the top horizontal member of a window or door. header the short side of a brick.

Hierarchical the placement of similar designs on a building, such as windows, that become larger and more elaborate at each story of the building.

Honeycomb brick a brick pattern in which space is left between some of the bricks for decoration or ventilation. impost the horizontal block at the end of an arch.

Hood the cover at the top of a window or door that extends out from a facade, usually ornamental.

Incised ornament delicate ornament scored into a facade found commonly around window openings on stone Second Empire facades.

Ionic order a classical order characterized by scrolled capitals, and plain geometric trim.

Jack arch a flat arch above a window or door opening composed of brick or stone members, in which dimension of the top is wider than that of the bottom. The center is marked by a decorative triangular keystone.

Keystone the center member of an arch, often larger or decorated.

Label a molding over doors and windows common in Gothic Revival designs, with a straight line over the window, and symmetrical lines extending vertically down on either side.

Light a pane of glass. See windows, multilight.

Light court an open, narrow shaft constructed in high rise buildings to provide light and ventilation. An interior light court is fully enclosed by the building; an exterior light court is open on one side to the street or alley.

Lintel a horizontal architectural member above a door or window, often decorated, that provides structural support for the opening.

Merlon found commonly in Gothic Revival architecture, the part of a battlement that projects upward.

Modillion large, ornamental blocks placed below the overhang of a cornice.

Molded brick brick that is shaped before being placed in the kiln, used for ornamental treatments, such as cornices and moldings.

Molding architectural designs which are commonly used on interior and exterior wood pieces, such as baseboards, crown moldings, cornices and chair rails.

Motif (pl.: motives) a main element or feature of a design.

Mouse hole a narrow passage from the front of two or more attached buildings, allowing access to the rear yard.

Mullion a vertical piece, usually wood, that separates grouped windows from each other.

Muntins vertical and horizontal members that divide panes of glass in the same window. See windows, multilight.

Nogging infill, which may be of various materials, between structural wood timbers in vertical or horizontal log, and half-timber construction.

Palladian window a grouping of windows found commonly in Colonial, and Colonial Revival architecture, comprised of a large central window flanked by narrower windows, with a semi-circular window above. A detail devised by Italian architect Antonio Palladio in the Renaissance.

Parapet the part of a wall which extends above the roof line.

Pedimen an architectural element, usually found around doors and windows and above porches, that has a gable set upon an entablature, with the same decorative molding running along the gable sides.

Peristyle a row of columns that surround a building or open space.

Pier a solid masonry support; also refers to the mass between windows or other openings in tall buildings.

Pilaster a flat, rectangular post, attached to the side of a building, and configured in the same manner as a column.

Pillow capital a capital found commonly in Romanesque architecture that is square at the top, with a rounded base. Sometimes called a cushion capital.

Pinnacle a small turret-like end on the top of spires, buttresses, etc.

Portal a dense, heavy surround on a church entry, found most often in Gothic Revival architecture.

Portico a large porch supported by classical columns or posts, forming the entrance to a building.

Projecting bay an architectural element consisting of a bay which extends forward from the main plane of a building facade. quoins dressed stones, placed at the comers of a building, alternating in size.

Return an architectural element, usually a molding, that extends from one exterior surface or plane to a different one; for example, the part of a front cornice which extends around to the side elevation is called a return.

Roofs

  • Bellcast a roof line that is curved out slightly as the roof meets the facade.
  • Catslide a roof type found commonly in Neo-Tudor Revival buildings that has a very steep slope; often one side is longer than the other.
  • False mansard a roof which has the steep pitch of a mansard on the front, but does not cover a third, or attic story.
  • Gable a roof with two slopes meeting at a center ridge. A front gable has its gable ends oriented to the front and rear facades; a side gable has its gable ends perpendicular to the front facade.
  • Gambrel a gable roof with a double slope on each side; sometimes called a "barn roof."
  • Helm the design of a roof with a steeple above a four sided base.
  • Hipped a roof with four sloping sides, meeting at a center ridge.
  • Mansard a roof composed of a steep section, topped by a nearly flat section, and providing an additional attic story.
  • Pyramidal a hipped roof in which four equal roof slopes meet at a single point.
  • Truncated hip a hipped roof whose slopes meet at a flat surface, instead of a ridge.

Rough-cut masonry blocks dressed on the sides but left in a unfinished condition on the front.

Rose window a circular window, usually seen in church architecture, often containing stained glass and tracery.

Roundel a small bull's-eye or circular ornamental panel.

Rubble stone stone which may have been slightly worked to shape but has basically an unfinished surface when laid.

Rusticated stone masonry laid in large blocks with deep joints, usually on the basement or first story of a building.

Scroll-work architectural ornament in the shape of a scroll. Scroll-work is most often found on the capital of Ionic columns.

Shaped parapet a decorative parapet projecting above a roofline, with a rectangular or curvilinear edge.

Sheathing exterior covering of a building or roof.

Sidelights one or more windows that are placed at the side of a door or window.

Spandrel a non-structural horizontal member, usually found in tall buildings, between the windows of each story.

Spirelet a small, narrow spire.

Stoop a narrow, unroofed porch, commonly built of stone, brick or concrete.

Story the space between any two floors of a building, as expressed on the exterior.

Stretcher the long side of a brick.

String course a narrow band of stone or brick that extends across the facade, between the stories of a building. See belt course.

Stucco plaster work on the exterior of a building.

Surround the ornament around window and door openings.

Symmetrical the identical placement of architectural elements on a building on either side of a central axis

Temple front the construction of a Greek Revival front facade, with a gable roof in the form of a pediment, and columns or pilasters.

Tenement a multiple unit building used to house large numbers of low-income families.

Terra cotta form of masonry made from fine grained clay, that is often heated in a mold, and used for ornamental purposes.

Tower a narrow structure extending above the roof of a building.

Tracery intricate delicate trim, often in stone, that is commonly found around porch roofs and gables in Gothic, and other forms of picturesque architecture.

Transept the part of a cruciform church design at right angles to the main portion of the building, or the nave. Also refers to each wing on either side of the nave. Transepts usually contain secondary entrances or chapels.

Transom a small, narrow window placed above a door or window.

Trefoil found commonly in church architecture, three circular ornamental pieces grouped together in a triangular shape.

Turned shaping of posts or balusters with a lathe to create ornamental designs.

Turret a slender tower with a conical roof popular in residential and commercial buildings from the 1860's through the 1890's.

Tuscan order a classical order defined by its simplicity: without fluted columns, or elaborate capitals and with a simple cornice and frieze.

Tympanum the triangular piece that forms the top of a pediment; also the triangular, or arched space above a church door, often highly decorated.

Variegated brick brick on the facade of a building of generally the same color, with slight variations in value.

Veneer the application of a finished material such as brick over other material, often used to give a richer exterior appearance; as in stone veneer on a brick building.

Verandah an exterior, open porch, most often found on the first story of residential buildings. The term is synonymous and used interchangeably with porch and gallery.

Water table a brick or stone course extending across the front facade of a building between the basement and first story.

Windows

  • Awning a single sash window hinged on the top swinging outward.
  • Casementa window hung on one side, and opening either outward or into a room.
  • Double hung a window with two sashes, one above the other, that may both be opened.
  • Industrial sash a multi-light window of metal with many small panes set in a rectangular grid, and generally combining fixed windows and casements. Usually seen in industrial design of the mid to late 20th century.
  • Multi-light windows with more than one pane of glass. Windows with decorative patterns are described by the number of panes, or lights, at each sash. For example, a six-light casement window has six small panes of glass. Double hung windows are described by the number of panes in the top sash being "over" the number in the bottom sash, as in two-over-two, or six-over- one.
  • Paired windows two windows separated by a mullion, under a single arch or lintel.

Wing wall an extension of a wall which projects out beyond the building itself.

 

 

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