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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


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

Aedicule

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

of Gayle Goudy Kochanski

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


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


Ambulatory

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

Apse

A semicircular, polygonal, or rectangular extension at the end of a Roman basilica or a Christian

church. Image courtesy of Heather Russell


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
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

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


Architrave

A square beam that is the lowest of the three horizontal components of a Classical

entablature.Image courtesy of Heather Russell


Archivolt

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

Arcuated

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

Ashlar

Building stone that has been squared and finished, and the masonry constructed of such

blocks. Courtesy of Heather Russell


Barrel Vault

A half-cylindrical vault, semicircular or pointed in cross section; also called tunnel vault. Image

courtesy of Heather Russell

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


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

Boss

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

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


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

Caryatid

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

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


Centering

Temporary wooden framework used to hold construction material in place until a vault or arch is

self-sustaining. Image courtesy of Gail Gould


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


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
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

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


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


Coffering

Recessed panels, square or polygonal, that ornament a vault, ceiling, or the underside (soffit) of

an arch. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger


Colonnette

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

Colossal/Giant Order

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

Gruen

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

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

Compound Pier

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

Gayle Goudy Kochanski

Corbel

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

Ranger

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.

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

Cornice

The uppermost, projecting portion of an entablature; also the crowing horizontal molding of a

building or wall. Image courtesy of Heather Russell


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


Crypt

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

Diaphragm Arch

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

Gretchen Ranger

Dipteral

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

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


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

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

Drum

1. The cylindrical or polygonal wall supporting a dome. Image courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski

2. One of the cylindrical sections comprsing the shaft of a

column. Image courtesy of Heather Russell


Dry Masonry

Masonry laid without mortar. Image courtesy of Heather Russell


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

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)

Entablature

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

Russell

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


Exedra

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


Extrados

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

Facade

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

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


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


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

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


Hall Church

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

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


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

Intrados

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

Gayle Goudy Kochanski

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


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


Keystone

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

Lancet Window

A tall, slender window with a sharply pointed arch (like a lance), common in early Gothic

architecture. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger


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


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


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


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.

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.

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Melon Dome/Umbrella Dome

A dome subdivided into individual concave webs; sometimes called an umbrella dome. Image

courtesy of Gretchen Ranger

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

Molding

A sculpted, ornamental band, carved with a distinctive profile or pattern; highly developed in

Classical architecture. Image courtesy of Heather Russell


Mullion

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

Gayle Goudy Kochanski

Naos

The principal enclosed area of a Greek temple, containing the cult statue of god or goddess.Image

courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski

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


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

Niche

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

Oculus

A round window. Image courtesy of Gretchen Ranger


Opisthodomos

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

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).

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


Parapet

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

Kochanski

Pedestal

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


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


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


Peripteral

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

Piano Nobile

The principal reception and living area in an Italian palace, the first floor above the ground.Image

courtesy of Gretchen Ranger

Piazza

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

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

Pilaster

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

of Gayle Goudy Kochanski

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


Podium

A massive platform on which an Etruscan, Roman, or other ancient building was sometimes

placed. Image courtesy of Gail Gould


Portico

An open, colonnaded, roofed space serving as a porch before the entrance to a building. Image

courtesy of Gail Gould

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


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

Pylon

In ancient Egyptian architecture, the sloping, tower-like walls flanking the entrance to a

temple. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen


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


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


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 Vault

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

Rustication

Masonry with massive, strongly textured or rough-hew blocks and sharply sunk joints,

distinguished form smooth ashlar. Image courtesy of Phil Gruen


Scotia

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

Shaft

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

Spandrel

The triangular area between adjoining arches, or the triangualr area next to a single arch. Image

courtesy of Gayle Goudy Kochanski

Spire

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


Splay

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

Springing

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

Kochanski

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

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

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

Thrust

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

Torus

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

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

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


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.

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


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


Vault

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

of Heather Russell

Volute

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

Gayle Goudy Kochanski

Voussoir

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

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