Architectural Terms

ARCADE: a series of arches supported by columns or piers, it may be attached to a wall (blind) or freestanding.


ARCH: a method of spaning an opening, stronger than a lintel. Usually a curved or pointed structural member, however there are many different types.


ASHLAR: smooth square stones laid in a horizontal fashion; used for foundations or facing of masonry walls.


BELLCAST: a curved shape resulting in a lower pitch at the bottom of a roof slope.


BALUSTRADE: a railing of small posts or balusters topped by a coping usually at the edge of stairs or on a roof.


BARGEBOARD: a board trim that is usually carved and projects from the gable line of a roof, used to hide the ends of the horizontal roof timbers.


BAY: a division of space that is repeated within a building, a three bay house would have three spaces repeated along one side as in two rooms and a hall. A space that projects from the rest of the building as in a bay window.


BONNETED: a dormer with a semicircular roof line, normally containing an arched window.


BRACKET: a supporting feature under an eave line or raincap, usually decorative.


BUTTRESS: a projecting mass normally of brickwork or masonry that is used to support a structure; gives additional strength usually to counteract the outward thrust of an arch or vault.


CASEMENT: in a window refers to a vertical window hinged on its vertical side, meant to open either out or in.


CLEARSTORY(or CLERESTORY): the upper level of a room that extends beyond the single-story height; often found in churches and penetrated by windows.


CUPOLA: a small structure situated on top of a roof, often domed with solid walls or four arches and covering a circular or polygonal area.


DENTILS: small tooth like projections adorning an area under an overhang; square blocks in series under a cornice.


DORMER: a vertical window and window box that projects from a sloping roof, has its own roof, most commonly a pedimental or gable roof.


DOUBLE HUNG: referring to a window with two vertical sliding sashes, one over the other.


FANLIGHTS: an arched window with radiating glazing bars that imitate a fan, placed over a door; loosely any over-door window.


FINIAL: a formal ornamentation fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable, etc.


FULLY STUDDED: in reference to a type of construction; local term for vertical plank construction. Large vertical planks or studs that are rough sawn or planed are placed next to each other on a sill at the bottom and either extends to a plate at the top or continues to the roof. Sometimes every 16"-20" a stud is mortised into the sill.


GABLE: the triangular end of a wall above the eaves with a peak roof.


GAMBREL ROOF: a double slope roof where the upper slope is of a lesser pitch than the lower, both slopes are straight.

Gambrel Roof

GOTHIC WINDOW: a triple arched window where the centre pane is taller than the sides. Most commonly seen in churches.

Gothic Window

HIP ROOF: locally known as a COTTAGE ROOF; a roof with four pitched sides, the line where two slopes of a roof meet is called a hip.

Hip Roof

LINHAY: local terminology referring to an addition to the rear of a structure; either one story with a shed roof (single-slope) or two stories with a flat roof. Also referred to as a lean-to in other areas.


MANSARD ROOF: named after the French architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666); a double slope roof with the lower slope being longer and steeper, with a concave curve. Can be sloped on all four sides or just two sides (front and back).

Mansard Roof

MORTISE & TENON: a joint made between two pieces of wood where the projecting part of onepiece fits into a corresponding cutout on another.

Mortise and Tenon

OGEE ARCH: an arch with a compound curve, partly concave and partly convex; looks like the keel of a boat. (Also known as a KEEL arch.)

Ogee Arch

PALLADIAN: a three-part window where the centre window is arched and wider than the two straight topped side windows. A style often used by Andrea Palladio after whom it was named.


PILASTER: a rectangular column projecting only slightly from a wall, incorporates a capital, shaft and base, as one of the orders. Once used for stiffening, now more common for decoration.


POINTED ARCH: produced by two curves that meet in the centre forming a point.

Pointed Arch

PORTICO: an open porch with columns supporting a pedimental roof, creating the entrance and\or centre piece of a facade.


RAINCAP: feature over an opening such as a window or door, a wide trim developed to shed water away from the opening. Can be heavy and decorated or light and plain.


RETURN: the part of a pattern that continues around a corner.


ROUNDEL: a circular moulding.


SALTBOX: an architectural form of a house, developed from a one-and-a-half story house with a linhay, the shape is said to resemble an eighteenth century salt box. One of the earlier house forms in rural Newfoundland.


SECOND EMPIRE (SOUTHCOTT): a style of architecture where the structure has a mansard (French) roof, usually there are bonneted dormers in the curved section of the roof. It may be extravagantly ornate.


SIDELIGHT: windows placed on either side of another window or door that are narrower than the centre opening.


SINGLE HUNG: referring to a window with a fixed top sash and a lower sash that slides vertically.


TRACERY: decorative intersecting glazing bars in the upper portion of a window; most common in Gothic Revival styles.


TRANSOM: the horizontal framing member between a door and a window above; also refers to the window above a door.


TRUNCATED: cut off or cut short, usually in reference to a roof.


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