CHAPTER 13 DEFINITIONS

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Arch: A curved structure for spanning an opening.

Architectural façade: The façade distinguished by the primary architectural features or detail.

Asymmetrical: Having no balance or symmetry.

Awnings: A canopy made of canvas to shelter people or things from rain or sun.

Balcony: An elevated platform projecting from the wall of a building, usually enclosed by a parapet or railing.

Baluster: Any of a number of closely spaced supports for a railing.

Balustrade: A railing with supporting balusters.

Barge Boards (verge boards): A board, often carved, attached to the projecting end of a gable roof.

Battered: Sloping, as of the outer face of a wall, that recedes from bottom to top.

Bay: A part of a building marked off by vertical or transverse details.

Bay window: A window or series of windows projecting outward from the main wall of a building and forming a bay or alcove in a room within.

Belfry: A bell tower.

Blockface: The architectural setting formed by the conjunction of all the buildings in a block.

Board and Batten: Siding application where the vertical joints are covered with narrow strips of wood.

Boxed Cornice: A slightly projecting, hollow cornice of boards and moldings, nailed to rafters.

Bracket: A support projecting horizontally diagonally from a wall to bear the weight of a cantilever or for decorative purposes.

Box (built-in) gutter: A gutter built into the slope of the roof, above the cornice.


Cantilevered: Horizontal element of a structure supported by horizontal, not vertical, structural members.

Canopy: Projecting element, usually over a facade opening, as if to provide shelter.

Casement: A window sash opening on hinges generally attached to the upright side of the windows frame.

Clapboard: A long, thin board with one edge thicker than the other, laid horizontally as bevel siding.

Clerestory window: Ribbon windows on the portion of an interior rising above adjacent rooftops.

Clinker brick: A very hard burned brick whose shape is distorted, knobby or bloated.

Column: A rigid, relatively slender vertical structural member, freestanding or engaged.

Coping: The top layer or course of a masonry wall, usually having a slanting upper surface to shed water. Corbels: A stepped projection from a wall, usually masonry.

Cornice: A continuous, molded projection that crowns a wall.

Crown: The highest portion of an arch, including the keystone.

Cupola: A dome like structure surmounting a roof or dome, often used as a lookout or to admit light and air.


Dentil: Simple, projecting, tooth-like molding.

Dormer: A projecting structure built out from a sloping roof, usually housing a vertical window or ventilating louver.

Double-hung window: A window with two sashes, both of which are operable, usually arranged one above the other.


Eave: The overhanging lower edge of a roof.

Entablature: The upper of a building, resting on the columns and constituting the architrave, frieze, and cornice.


Facade: The front or any side of a building.

Fascia: Any broad, flat horizontal surface, as the outer edge of a cornice or roof.

Fenestration: The design, proportioning, and location of windows and other exterior openings of a building.

Finial: A sculptured ornament, often in the shape of a leaf or flower, at the top of a gable, pinnacle, or similar structure

Frieze: A decorative horizontal band, as along the upper part of a wall.


Glazed: Filled with a pane of glass.

Gothic Arch: A pointed arch reminiscent of those found on Gothic Cathedrals

Grilles: A decorative screen, usually of wood, tile, or iron, covering or protecting an opening.


Half-timbering: Detail creating the appearance of exposed structural timbers on plaster.


Keystone: The wedge shaped detail at the top of an arch.


Louver: Fixed or movable horizontal slats for admitting air and light.


Marquee: A tall projection above a theatre entrance, often containing a sign.

Massing: The unified composition of a structure’s volume, affecting the perception of density and bulk.

Molding: A slender strip of ornamental material with a uniform cross and a decorative profile.


Newel post: A post supporting one end of a handrail at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs.


Ogee arch: An arch formed by two S-shaped curves meeting at a point.

Oriel: A bay window supported from below by corbels or brackets.


Parapet: A low protective wall at the edge of a terrace, balcony, or above the roof line.

Patterned Shingles: Shingles, usually used as a sheathing material, which are cut and arranged so as to form decorative patterns such as fish scales, diamonds, scallops, etc.

Pediment: A wide, low-pitched gable surmounting a colonnade, portico, or major bay on a facade.

Pergola: An arbor or a passageway of columns supporting a roof of trellis work on which climbing plants are trained to grow

Pier: Vertical structural members.

Pilaster: A shallow rectangular projecting feature, architecturally treated as a column.

Pinnacle: A small turret or spire on a roof or buttress.

Porch: An exterior covered approach or vestibule to a doorway.

Porte cochere: A roofed structure covering a driveway to provide shelter while entering or leaving a vehicle.

Portico: A vertically proportioned porch having a roof supported by columns.


Quoin: An exterior angle of a masonry wall marked by stones or bricks differentiated in size and/or material from adjoining surfaces.


Rafter: Any of a series of small, parallel beams for supporting the sheathing and covering of a pitched roof.

Rafter tail: Portion of a rafter which projects under the eave.


Scale: Proportionate size judged in relation to an external point of reference.

Showcase windows: Large glazed openings designed to showcase merchandise.

Sidelights: Vertical windows along the outside of a door.

Sleeping porch:

Soffit: The underside of an architectural element, such as a beam or cornice.

Spandrel: The roughly triangular space between the left or right exterior curve of an arch and the rectangular framework surrounding it.

Spindles: Slender architectural ornaments made of wood turned on a lathe in simple or elaborate patterns.

Spire: Structure or formation, such as a steeple, that tapers to a point at the top.

Splay: An oblique angle or bevel given to the sides of an opening in a wall.

Stair tower: A tower articulating the location of the stairway, usually of a residence.

Stoop: A raised platform, approached by steps and sometimes having a roof, at the entrance to a house.

Streetscape: The pattern and impression created by the combination of visible elements from all lots on a block face.

String courses: A horizontal course of brick or stone flush with or projecting beyond the face of a building, often molded to mark a division in the wall.

Surround: The trim, jamb, head, and other decorative elements surrounding an opening.

Symmetry: Correspondence of form on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane.


Terra-Cotta: Usually red fired clay. Terrace: An open level area or group of areas adjoining a house or lawn.

Terrazzo: A poured flooring material, usually comprised of small pieces of stone or glass in a binding medium.

Tower: A structure high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, usually forming part of a larger building.

Transom: A window, usually operable, above the head of a door.

Trusses: A rigid framework, as of wooden beams or metal bars, designed to support a structure, such as a roof.

Turret: A structure (frequently curved) high in proportion to its lateral dimensions, forming part of a larger building.

Tuscan columns: Very simple columns with no fluting or other embellishment.


Veranda: A large, open porch, usually roofed, extending across the front and sides of a house.


Window Sash: One unit of an operable window, including the frame and glazing.

Wood shingle siding: A sheathing material comprised of overlapping wood shingles.