ARH 314 and 315 Terminology

All definitions are reproduced from the required course textbook:
Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabell Hyman, Architecture, From Prehistory to Postmodernity: the Western tradition, 2nd Ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall; New York: H.N. Abrams, 2002

Abacus

At the top of a capital, a thick rectangular slab of stone that serves as the flat, broad surface on which the architrave rests. Image courtesy of Heather Russel
abacus

Acanthus

A plant of the Mediterranean region whose serrated leaves were copied in stone to ornament Corinthian and Composite capitals; used also to decorate moldings and friezes. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Acanthus

Aedicule

A framing motif consisting of an entablature and pediment supported by two columns. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
aedicule

Aisle

A passage or corridor parallel to the nave of a church or an ancient basilica and separated from it by columns or piers. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
aisle

Altar

A table like structure for the celebration of the Sacraments in a Christian building; for sacrifice or offerings in antiquity. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Altar

Ambulatory

A semicircular or polygonal passageway around the apse of a church. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Ambulatory

Apse

A semicircular, polygonal, or rectangular extension at the end of a Roman basilica or a Christian church. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
apse

Anta

In Classical temples, the pilaster like projecting end of a portico wall often framing columns, which are then said to be in antis Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
anta

Arcade

A series of arches supported on piers or columns. A "blind" arcade is a row of arches applied to the wall as an ornamental feature. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
archade

Arch

A structural devise, curved in shape, to span an opening by means of wedge-shaped bricks or stones (voussoirs) that support each other by exerting mutual pressure and that are buttressed at the sides. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
arch

Architrave

A square beam that is the lowest of the three horizontal components of a Classical entablature. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
architrave

Archivolt

A molded band carried around an arch. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
archivolt

Arcuated

Any form of construction using arches. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
archuated

Ashlar

Building stone that has been squared and finished, and the masonry constructed of such blocks. Courtesy of Heather Russell
ashlar

Barrel Vault

A half-cylindrical vault, semicircular or pointed in cross section; also called tunnel vault. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
barrel vault

Bay

A vertical compartment of a building in which several such compartments are repeated; each bay mignt be defined by columns, piers, windows, or vaulting units. Michelangelo Museo Capitolino is divided into 7 bays by pilasters. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen
bay

Basilica

In ancient Roman architecture, a large rectangular building used as a tribunal or for other public purposes and generally arranged with nave, aisles, and one or more apses. In Christian architecture, a longitudinal church of related form. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
basilica

Boss

Sculpted ornament of joints, found primarily in vaults. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Boss

Buttress

A projecting mass of masonry serving to provide additional strength for the wall as it resists the lateral thrust exerted by an arch or vault. Plying Buttress: in a church, a buttress in the form of an arch, or set of arches, that carries the thrust of a nave vault over the side aisle roofs down to a massive external pier. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Buttress

Capital

The uppermost part of a column, usually shaped to articulate the joint with the lintel or arch supported; in Classical types, comprising an abacus, echinus, and other carved detail. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
Capital

Caryatid

A sculpted female figure used as a support in place of a column or pier. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
caryatid

Cella

The body and main sanctuary of a Classical temple, as distinct from its portico and other external parts; sometimes used synonymously with naos, the principal room of a temple where the cult statue is housed. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
cella

Centering

Temporary wooden framework used to hold construction material in place until a vault or arch is self-sustaining. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Centering

Chancel

The eastern portion of a church set apart for the clergy, and often separated from the main body of the church by a screen, rail, or steps. The term is also used to describe the entire east end of a church beyond the crossing. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Chancel

Chevet

A French term used to describe the developed east end of a church, usually a French Gothic cathedral, with its apse, ambulatory, and radiating chapels. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Chevet

Choir

The part of a church, generally located toward or in the apse, reserved for clergy and singers.
(This photograph was taken looking down the nave toward the apse. The choir screen is highlighted, which is just beyond the transept.) Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Choir

Clerestory

A part of a building that rises above adjoining roof-tops and is pierced by window openings to admit light to the interior. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Clerestory

Cloister

An open square court surrounded by a covered ambulatory, often archaded. It is generally attached to a church or monastery and is distinguished from a secular courtyard by its function as a lace of seclusion and repose. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Cloister

Coffering

Recessed panels, square or polygonal, that ornament a vault, ceiling, or the underside (soffit) of an arch. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
coffereing

Colonnette

A small or greately attenuated, slender column. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
colonnette

Colossal/Giant Order

Columns or pilasters that rise through several stories; also called a Giant Order. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen
Giant or Colossal Order

Column

A vertical, usually cylindrical, support, commonly consisting of a base, shaft, and capital; in Classical archtecture, its parts are governed by proportional rules. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
column

Composite Order

One of the five Classical orders; favored in late Roman architecture. On the capital, large conjoined Ionic volutes are combined with the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Composite Order

Compound Pier

A pier with columns, shafts, and pilaters attached, sometimes in clusters, to its faces. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
compound pier

Corbel

A masonry block projecting from a wall to support a superincumbent element. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Corbel

Corbeled Arch

Masonry constructed over a wall opening by a series of courses projecting from each side and stepped progressively further forward until they meet at midpoint; not a true arch.
corbeled arch

Corinthian Order

The most richly embellished of the thre orders (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) developed by the Greeks, with a tall capital composed of a bell-shaped core (kalathoss) envelped by layers of acanthus leaves terminating in the corner volutes, surmounted by concave-sided abacus. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
corithian order

Cornice

The uppermost, projecting portion of an entablature; also the crowing horizontal molding of a building or wall. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
cornice

Crossing

The area where the nave and transept intersect in a cruciform church, frequently surmounted by a tower or dome.
(This tower is over the crossing). Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Crossing

Crypt

A vaulted space beneath the pavement of a church, often housing relics or tombs.
Cript

Diaphragm Arch

A transverse arch across the nave of a church partitioning the roof into sections. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Diaphram Arch

Dipteral

Referring to a temple surrounded by a double range of columns. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
dipteral

Distyle in Antis

In a Classical temple referring to a portico with two columns between piers (antae) projecting from the cella walls. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
distyle in antis

Dome

A curved vault that is erected on a circular base and that is semicircular, pointed, or bulbous in section. If raised over a square or polygonal base transitional squinches or pendentives must be inserted at the corners of the base to transform it into a near circle. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Dome

Doric Order

The column and entablature developed on mainland Greece; the fluted columnar shaft is without a base; its capital is an abacus above a simple cushionlike molding (echinus). The entablature has a plain architrave, a frieze composd of metopes and triglyphs, and a cornice with projecting blocks (mutules). In Roman Doric, the colun is slimmer than the Greek prototype, is unfluted, and stands on a low base; the capital is smaller. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
doric order

Drum

1. The cylindrical or polygonal wall supporting a dome. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
drum of a dome
2. One of the cylindrical sections comprsing the shaft of a column. Image courtesy of Heather Russell drum of a column

Dry Masonry

Masonry laid without mortar. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
Dry Masonry

Echinus

A convex, cushion like molding between the shaft and the abacus in the Doric or Tuscan order; in an Ionic capital, found beneath the volutes, generally in decorated form. Image courtesy of Heather Russel
echinus

Engaged Column

A column attached to or appearing to be partly embedded wthin a wall. Images courtesy of Heather Russell (left) and Gayle Goudy Kochanski (right)
engaged column

Entablature

The upper part of a Classical order comprising architrave, frieze, and cornice. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
entablature

Entasis

The slight swelling of the vertical profile of a Classical column as it tapers toward the top to counteract the illusion of concavity that accompanies straight-sided columns. (orange lines exaggerated) Image courtesy of Heather Russell
entasis

Exedra

A semicircular recess or niche; a large apse. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Exedra

Extrados

The upper surface of an arch or vault. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
extrados

Facade

The principal exterior face of a building, usually the front. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen
Facade

Fluting

The shallow concave channels cut vertically into the shaft of a column or pilaster. In Doric columns, they meet in a sharp edge (arris); in Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite columns, they are separated by a narrow strip.
Image courtesy of Heather Russell
fluting

Frieze

A horizontal band, sometimes painted or decorated with sulpture or moldings. It may run along the upper portion of a wall just beneath a cornice or it may be that part of a classical entablature that lies between the architrave and cornice. A Doric frieze often has continuous relief sculpture. Image courstesy of Heather Russel
frieze

Gable

A triangular element. It may be the end of a pitched roof framed by the sloping sides. It also refers to the top of a Gothic panel, or to the triangular area above the portals of a Gothic building. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Gable

Gallery

An upper story projecting from the interior wall of a building, or placed above the aisles of a church. It may function as a corridor or as an area for assembly or seating. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Gallery

Groin Vault

A vault formed when two barrel vaults of identical size intersect at right angles (also called a cross vault). Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Groin Vault

Hall Church

A church in which the nave and aisles are the same height, giving the building the appearace of a great hall.
Hall Church

Impost

In a pier, the projecting molding at the springing of an arch. A rectangular impost block transmits the weight of an arch to a supporting member; it may appear between the capital of a column and the springing of an arch. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Impost

In Antis

The term used to describe columns placed between the ends of two walls, commonly projecting from the ends of the cella of a small Greek Temple. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
In Antis

Intrados

The undersurface (as opposed to extrados) of an arch (or vault); also called a soffit. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
intrados

Intercolumnation

The space between adjacent colunms in a colonnade, frequently determined by some multiple of the diameter of the column itself. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
intercolumnation

Ionic Order

One of the five Classical Orders, the Ionic is characterized by a scroll-shaped (voluted) capital element, the presence of dentils in the cornice, and a frieze that mighta contain continuous relief ornament. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Ionic Order

Keystone

The central voussoir at the top of a completed arch. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
keystone

Lancet Window

A tall, slender window with a sharply pointed arch (like a lance), common in early Gothic architecture. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Lancet Window

Lantern

A cylindrical or polygonal structure that crowns a dome, its base usually open to allow light to enter the area below. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Lantern

Loggia

An arcade supported by piers or coluns, open on one side at least; either part of a building (as a porch) or a separate structure. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Loggia

Lunette

A semicircular wall area, or opening, above a door or window; when above the portal of a church, often called a tympanum. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Lunette

Martyrium

A struction, oftenof central plan, erectred on a site sacred to Christianity, symbolizing an act of martydom or marking the grave of a martyr who died for the faith.
Martyrium

Megaron

The principal hall of an Aegean dwelling, oblong in shape and formed with sloping sides and a flat top, with a passage leading to an underground burial chamber.
Megaron

Melon Dome/Umbrella Dome

A dome subdivided into individual concave webs; sometimes called an umbrella dome. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Melon or Umbrella Dome

Metope

In the frieze of a Doric order, the rectangular area between tryglyphs; often left plain but sometimes decorated with relief ornament. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
metope

Molding

A sculpted, ornamental band, carved with a distinctive profile or pattern; highly developed in Classical architecture. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
molding

Mullion

A slender upright dividing an opening, usually a window, into two or more sections. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
mullion

Naos

The principal enclosed area of a Greek temple, containing the cult statue of god or goddess. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
naos

Narthex

A colonnaded porch in front of the facade of a church, in early Chrisian architectue often serving as the fourth side of an atrium; also a transverse vestibule preceding the church nave and aisles. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Narthex

Nave

The central, longitudinal space of a basilican church, separated from the aisles or from side chaples, and extending from the main entrance to the transept or to the apse. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
nave

Niche

A concave recess in a wall, often used to house statuary. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
niche

Oculus

A round window. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Oculus

Opisthodomos

The room at the rear of a Greek temple, behind the naos. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Opisthodomos

Order

A system for the forms and relationship of elements in the column and entablature of Classical architecture according to one of five modes: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian (developed by the Greeks), and Tuscan and Composite (developed by the Romans).
Order

Palladian Motif/Serliana

A triple opening formed by a central semicircular arch springing from the entablature of narrower flanking square-headed bays, used by architect Andrea Palladio. Also known as a Serliana because it was first illustrated in the architecture treatise of 1537 by Sebastiano Serlio. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Palladian Motif

Parapet

A low wall for protection at the edge of a balcony, terrace, roof, bridge, etc. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Parapet

Pedestal

A supporting substructure for a column or statue. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
pedestal

Pediment

A triangular space formed by the raking cornices (sloping sides) and horizontal cornice of a gabled temple; also used above a door or window. If the apex or base is split, the pediment is described as broken. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
pediment

Pendentive

An inverted, concave, triangular piece of masonry serving as the transition from a square support system to the circular base of a dome. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Pendentive

Peripteral

Pertaining to a building surrounded by a row of columns on all sides. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
peripteral

Piano Nobile

The principal reception and living area in an Italian palace, the first floor above the ground. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Piano Nobile

Piazza

The Italian term for a city square. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen
Piazza

Pier

A massive vertical support often rectangular in plan and therefore differing from a column, sometimes having its own capital and base. When combined with pilasters, columns, or shafts, it is called a compound pier. Its proportions are far more variable than a Classical column. Pier is also the term used for the solid mass between windows, doors, and arches. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
pier

Pilaster

A column is flattened, rectangular shape, projecting slightly form the face of the wall. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Pilaster

Plinth

A generally square block forming the bottommost element of a column base; or the projecting lowest portion of a wall. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Plinth

Podium

A massive platform on which an Etruscan, Roman, or other ancient building was sometimes placed. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Podium

Portico

An open, colonnaded, roofed space serving as a porch before the entrance to a building. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Portico

Post and Lintel

A system of construction in which two or more uprights support a horizontal beam; also called trabeated. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
Post and Lintel

Pronaos

The porch in font of the cella of a Greek or Roman temple formed by the projection of the side walls and a range of columns between the projections. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Pronaos

Pylon

In ancient Egyptian architecture, the sloping, tower-like walls flanking the entrance to a temple. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen
Pylon

Quoin

Large stone or block laid at the corner of a building (or at an opening) used either for reinforcement of the angle or for ornament. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Quoin

Revetment

The facing of a surface, usually a wall, with stone for ornamentation or protection.
(Notice how the ornamental revetment is only on the facade and does not continue on the side surfaces.) Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
revetment

Rib

A slender, projecting arched member of a vault, used to facilitate its construction, reinforce its structure, or articulate its form in varying ways in Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic, Gothic, and Baroque architecture. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Rib

Rib Vault

An arched ceiling or roof supported or reinforced by ribs. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
Rib Vault

Rustication

Masonry with massive, strongly textured or rough-hew blocks and sharply sunk joints, distinguished form smooth ashlar. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen
Rustication

Scotia

A concave molding used as the intermediate part of a base. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
scotia

Shaft

The cylindrical body of a column between capital and base. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
Shaft

Spandrel

The triangular area between adjoining arches, or the triangualr area next to a single arch. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
spandrel

Spire

A tall pointed termination of a tower or roof. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger
spire

Splay

The widening of windows, doorways, and other openings by slanting the sides.
Splay

Springing

The point from which an arch or vault springs or rises from its supports. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Springing

Squinch

A small arch, or sometimes a lintel, thrown across the angle of a square or polygon to make them more nearly round and thus able to recieve the circular base of a dome. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Sqinch

Stringcourse

A continuous, projecting horizontal course of masonry, ususally molded, running along, the surface of a wall, to mark an architectural subdivision. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Stringcourse

Stylobate

The continuous platform of masonry on which a colonnade rests; the uppermost level of the stepped base (crepidoma) of a Greek temple. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
Stylobate

Thrust

The outward force exerted by an arch or vault. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
thrust

Torus

A large convex molding found principally at the base of a column. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
torus

Trabeated

An architectural system using a horizontal beam over supports, as opposed to an arched or arcuated system; synonymous with post and lintel. Image courtesy of Heather Russell
trabeated

Tracery

Ornamental intersecting stonework in Gothic windows, panels, and screen of Gothic buildings; also used on the surface of late Gothic vaults. Varied techniques and patterns are given names such as plate tracery (built up in corsed layers like the framing walls), bar tracery (constructed of complex fragments of the total pattern), flowing tracery (seemingly freehand, curvilinear design, though compass drawn), etc. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Tracery

Transept

In a basilican church, the arm that crosses the nave at right angles, usually separating it from the apse; twin transept arms may also project from the nave without interrupting it.
Transcept

Triforium

An arcaded wall passage in a Gothic nave wall, between the clerestory and the main arcade in a three-story elevation; in a four-story elevation, it appears between the gallery and the clerstory. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Triforium

Triglyph

In a Doric frieze, the projecting block marked by vertical grooves (glyphs) between the rectangular areas known as metopes Image courtesy of Heather Russell
triglyph

Vault

An arched ceiling or roof made of stone, brick, or concrete (cf. barrel vault, fan vault). Image courtesy of Heather Russell
Vault

Volute

Ornament in the form of a spiral scroll, and the principal feature of the Ionic capital. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
volute

Voussoir

A wedge-shaped stone used in the construction of an arch or vault. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski
Voussoir

Westwork

In a Carolingian or Romanesque church, the towerlike west end, often containing an entrance vestibule surmounted by a large room open to the nave. Image courtesy of Gail Gould
Westwork