CLASSICAL ARCHITECTURAL TERMS
The uppermost part of the capital of the column; often a plain, square slab but sometimes molded or otherwise enriched.
The solid part of a pier or wall, etc. against which an arch abuts, or from which it immediately springs - acting as a support to
the thrust (or lateral pressure). The abutments of a bridge are the walls adjoining to the land, which supports the ends of the roadway, or the arches at the extremities. Essentially, it is any solid structure which receives the thrust of an arch or vault.
|ACANTHUS (Lat. from Gr.)
A plant, the leaves which are imitated in the capitals of the Corinthian and Composite Orders of Architecture.
A common plant of the Mediterranean, which stylized leaves characterize the capital decorations of the Corinthian & Composite
Orders of Architecture.
Pedestals for statues and other ornaments placed on the apex and the lower angles of a pediment. They are also sometimes
placed upon the gables in Gothic architecture, especially in canopy work.
An alternative term of Cupid.
A term of frequent occurrence in old inventories and one which is still well known in some parts of the country when referred
to as the Fire-dogs: they are generally enumerated as a "pair of andirons," but occasionally only one is mentioned. In the hall
at Penshurst, Kent, the hearth still remains in the middle of the room, and there stands on it one large fire-dog that consists of
an upright standard at each end and a bar in between. Although used chiefly for the braziers in the middle of the hall, they were
also used in the fireplaces in the chambers.
A small flat fillet encircling a column. It is used under the echinus of a Doric capital several times, and is also called a shaft ring.
The term has also been applied to the fillets separating fluted in columns, and is also called a "list" or "listella."
A species of pilasters used in Greek & Roman architecture to terminate the pteromata, or side walls, of temples - when they are
prolonged beyond the face of the end walls. The first order of temples, according to Vitruvius, is called "in antis," because the
pronaos, or porch, in front of the cell is formed by the projection of the pteromata terminated by the antae - with columns
between them. They may be said to correspond to the "respond" in English architecture.
Antefixae, or Antefix are ornamented tiles on the top of the cornice or eaves at the end of each ridge of tiling, as on the choragic
monument of Lysicrates, at Athens; sometimes of marble, but generally of terra cotta, and ornamented with a mask, honeysuckle,
or other decoration molded on them. Also, lions' heads carved on the upper moldings of the cornice, either for ornament, or to
serve as spouts to carry off the water, as on the Temple of the Winds at Athens.
Dressings or architraves of a doorway. This term does not include the frame of the door, which is of wood, but only the stone
decorations - or stucco - when that material is used.
The honeysuckle, or palmette, ornament found above acroteria, in cornices, on antefixa, on the neckings of some Ionic capitals,
and elsewhere in Classical Architecture.
The small curvature given to the top and bottom of the shaft of a column where it expands to meet the edge of the fillet.
An engaged column: one attached to a wall.
The style of the Grecian temples in which the columns are placed at the distance of four (and occasionally five) diameters apart.
This style is usually only appropriate to the Tuscan Order, but occasionally found in Hellenistic architecture.
|ARCHITRAVE (Fr. & Lat. = chief-beam)
The lowest division of the entablature, in Classical architecture, resting immediately on the abacus of the capital. It is also referred
to as ornamental molding running around the exterior curve of an arch.
A sharp edge at the junction of two surfaces, e.g. the flutes of a Greek Doric column meeting in a sharp arris.
A small molding of a rounded, convex section. It is found as a ringe that separates the capital from the column shaft of a
Classical colum, and may be ornamented.
Without columns or pilasters.
Carved male figures serving as columns to support an entablature – the male counterpart of caryatides – also known as
The base of a Classical column consisting of two torus moldings separated by a scotia with fillets (i.e. two large convex rings
between which is a concave molding). This is found with all Orders except the Greek Doric and the Tuscan.
A small pillar usually made circular, and swelling in the middle or towards the bottom (entasis), commonly used in a balustrade.
A rude baluster shaft occurs in the Romanesque styles of the eleventh and twelfth centuries in England and elsewhere, where it
occupies the place of a mid-wall shaft to the tower windows. Some of the examples have evidently been turned in a lathe, and it
has been observed that they bear a great resemblance to the spokes of a cart-wheel at the present day, also turned in a lathe in
the same manner. From the eleventh century it was unused until the revival of Classical architecture in the sixteenth century.
A range of small balusters supporting a coping or cornice, and forming a parapet or enclosure.
A flat face or fascia, a square molding, or a continuous tablet or a series of ornaments, encircling a building or continued along
the wall. Bands of paneling on the external surface of a wall are very usual in rich work of the Perpendicular style, especially on
the lower part of a tower, and sometimes higher up between the stories also, as in the rich Somersetshire towers, and in
Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, and indeed wherever rich churches of this style are found. This kind of ornament is,
however, used in the earlier styles also, though less frequently.
The lower part of a pillar, wall where the division of a column on which the shaft is placed: the Grecian Doric order has no base,
but the other Classical orders have each their appropriate bases, which are divided into plinth and moldings, though in some
examples the former of these divisions is omitted. The base order are: Tuscan, Roman Doric & Ionic (Attic).
A projecting molding or band of moldings near the bottom of a wall; it is sometimes placed immediately on top of the plinth,
and sometimes a short distance above it, in which case the intervening space is frequently paneled in circles and quatrefoils.
Compartments into which the interior of a building is divided, separated by columns or pilasters and with transverse arches or
beams similarly separating the roof. Each bay encapsulates the smallest repetitive element of the building and logically contains
one window or composition of windows. Hence a façade showing a window repeated five times may be referred to as a
|BEAD & REEL
A decoration of alternating, sometimes grouped, circular and oval beads generally small in scale and used to enrich the astragal.
Or, Bed Molding, is a convex, rounded molding that is commonly of a semi-circular section. It is molding under a corona,
between it and the frieze, or any molding under any projection.
This term appears formerly, as at present, to have been applied generally to the principal horizontal timbers of a building, an
additional epithet being used to point out the particular application of them as to have no other specific names.
The body Corinthian or a Composite capital, supposing the foliage stripped off, is called the bell; the same name is applied also
to the Early English and other capitals in Gothic architecture which in any degree partake of this form.
A sloped or canted surface resembling a chamfer or splay, except that in strictness this latter term should be applied only to
openings which have their sides sloped for the purpose of enlarging them, while a sloped surface in another situation would be a
bevel; this distinction, however, is seldom regarded, and the two terms are commonly used synonymously.
To boast or block out a piece of stone or wood is to shape it into the simple form which approaches nearest to its ultimate figure,
leaving the smaller details to be worked out afterwards. Sometimes capitals, corbels, - especially of the thirteenth century - are
found in this state, never having been finished. A good example occurs in the crypt at Canterbury.
Densely designed leaves and flowers as backgrounds to figures - common in Rococo decorations.
|BOLSTER (or PILLOW)
The return side of an Ionic capital resembling a baluster on its side, or a cushion.
An ornamental projection from the face of a wall, to support a statue; brackets are sometimes nearly plain, or ornamented only
with moldings, but are generally carved either into heads, foliage, angels, or animals. Brackets are very frequently found on the
walls inside of churches, especially at the east end of the chancel and aisles, where they supported statues that were placed near
|BUCRANE (or BUCRANIUM)
A carved representation of an ox-head or an ox-skull (or aegicrane if ram or goat), garlanded, found in the metopes of the
Roman Doric frieze - often alternating with rosettes or phialai.
|CABLING (or CABLED FLUTING)
A round molding frequently worked in the flutes of columns and pilasters in Classical architecture, and nearly filling up the hollow
part: they seldom extend higher than the third part of the shaft.
A carved leg with feet in the shape of claws, paws, or hoofs - based on the Monopodia of Roman tripods.
A kind of bracket, whether of stone, wood, or iron used to support eaves, cornices, balconies - usually of considerable
The top most member, sometimes decorated, of a column, pilaster, etc.
Decorative vignette of the Rococo period showing architectural ruins and emblematic figures.
A modillion, usually internal, or under the eaves of a building, as opposed to modillions of the standard Classical cornice. The
term is more commonly applied to a decorative tablet or frame for inscriptions in the form of a scroll or curling piece of
A name given to statues representing draped female figures, applied instead of columns in Grecian architecture, as seen at the
Erechtheum in Athens.
(1) - A frame enclosing part of the glazing of a window, with hinges to open and shut. (2) - An old English name for the deep
hollow molding, similar to the Scotia of Italian architecture, which is extremely prevalent in Gothic architecture, in cornices, door
and window jambs, especially in the Perpendicular style, and which is frequently enriched with running patterns of foliage.
|CAULICOLI (or CAULICOLAE)
In the Corinthian capital, the eight stalks that spring from the upper row of the acanthus leaves.
A concave molding of one quarter of a circle, used in the Grecian and other styles of architecture.
The upper molding of a dado around a room to prevent the backs of chairs from damaging the walls or their coverings. It
corresponds to the cornice of a pedestal.
An arris or angle which is slightly pared off is said to be chamfered: a chamfer resembles a splay, but is much smaller, and is
usually taken off equally on the two sides; it applies to woodwork as well as stone. In the Early English and Decorated styles,
more especially in the former, chamfers had frequently ornamental terminations of several kinds, some of which were sufficiently
marked to be characteristic of the date of the architecture, and they are more varied and produce a stronger effect than might be
expected in such minute features. The angles of Early English buttresses are commonly chamfered.
An infantile male figure, winged - usually associated with clouds, funerary monuments, etc. in Baroque sculpture. Cherubs are
usually podgy, and may be given overt displays of grief. They must be distinguished from putti - which are little boy figures who
The zigzag. Very fluid chevron forms are called Bargello.
Creature with mane, head, and legs of a lion, the tail of a dragon, the body of a goat, and the wings of an eagle.
|CHOPPED (or "SPRAY-UP FIBERGLASS PROCESS)
Manufactured using a closed mold. The fiberglass/resin matrix combined using multiple "guns" that spray the material onto a
mold. The sprayed product is then hand-rolled to remove potential air pockets. The mold is removed and the finished product
is ready for priming and painting.
A band or fillet around the shaft of a column.
A ring of moldings around the top or bottom of the shaft of a column, separating the shaft from the capital or base.
Any window, row of windows, or openings in the upper part of a building - notably above the nave arcades and aisle roofs in a
Flat ceilings were often constructed by placing small beams at right angles between or on the main beams. The soffit was then
formed by covering the square compartments with frames closed by flat lids. The sunken square compartments - often emulated
in stone, concrete, or plaster - are called coffers.
Flat ceilings were often constructed by placing small beams at right angles between or on the main beams. The soffit was then
formed by covering the square compartments with frames closed by flat lids. The sunken square compartments - often emulated
in stone, concrete, or plaster - are called coffers.
Molding that has a repeated series of overlapping discs.
Small, thin columns - often used for decoration or to support an arcade.
A row of columns with an entablature. If four, the range is called tetrastyle; if six, hexastyle; if eight, octastyle; if ten, decastyle.
When a colonnade stands before a building it is called a portico, and if it surrounds a building, it is called a peristyle.
A large column more than a story in height. Also known as "Giant" columns.
The huge amphitheatre built by Vespasian in Rome.
A round pillar; the term includes the base, shaft, and capital: in Grecian and Roman architecture. The column is such an
important feature that the exact proportions of its several parts are settled, and vary according to the Orders of Architecture.
The term is also sometimes applied to the pillars or piers in Norman and Gothic architecture. In classical architecture, a
cylindrical support consisting of a base (except Greek Doric), shaft, and capital.
An arrangement of columns.
One of the five Classical Orders. A Roman elaboration of the Corinthian Order, having the acanthus leaves of its capital combined
with the large volutes of the Ionic Order, and other details also elaborated.
|CONCH (or CONCHA)
The half dome of an apse, or a niche with a semi-dome over it. A shell is sometimes carved or formed over the half-domed
niche, hence the term.
The echinus or quarter-round, and the cavetto. The former is a swelling conge, and the latter is the hollow conge.
Is strictly the French term for a bracket, or for the ancones, but it is commonly used by English authors also for a bracket or
corbel of any kind in Classical architecture. Typically, a console has an S-shape and is ornamented. It's height is greater than its
projection when it's in a vertical position.
A bracket of that form which is best fitted to ordinary conditions of cut stone or of other masonry; in French, the corresponding
term corbeau is limited to a bracket having, particularly, two distinguished from the cul de lampe, which has a generally pyramidal
or conical shape.
The most slender and most ornate of the three Greek Orders, characterized by a bell-shaped capital with Volutes and two rows
of acanthus elaborate cornice. It is considered one of the most lavish Orders of Architecture. The Corinthian Order was used
by both the Greeks and the Romans.
The molded projection which is the crowning feature, consisting of several members, of an entablature. It also can crown a wall,
a molding, or a pedestal. A cornice can be any horizontal molding, although it is primarily the topmost of the three main divisions
of an entablature. It is also the molding at the junction of a wall and ceiling, and, in such a position that is similar in profile to a
cornice on an entablature.
The central component of the cornice, having a vertical face and horizontal soffit, often with drip moulding.
A concave moulding often large in scale, like an inverted cavetto, supporting the eaves externally, or raising the ceiling of
a room above the cornice.
A small dome, on a circular or polygonal base, roofing a turret and often finished with a finial or lantern.
|CYMA (or CYMATIUM)
A moulding in the form of a reverse curve, used as the crowning component of a cornice and elsewhere.
A cyma moulding having a concave curve uppermost, with a convex curve below.
A cyma moulding having a convex curve uppermost, with a concave curve below.
The solid block or cube forming the body of a pedestal in Classical architecture, between the base-moldings and cornice: an
architectural arrangement of moldings, &c,. around the lower part of the walls of a room, resembling a continuous pedestal.
The angle which the planes of the wall and the soffits of the mutules of the Doric Order make with each other. All true Greek
Doric mutules are inclined.
A column that is applied to a wall. An engaged column as distinct from a pilaster.
|DENTILS (Lat. Denticulus)
Denticulus, meaning "Little Tooth." These are ornaments resembling teeth, used in the bead-molding of Ionic, Corinthian, and
An arrangement of columns in Grecian and Roman architecture in which the inter-columniation or space between them is equal
to three, or according to some, four diameters of the shaft.
The term expressing the decrease of diameter in the upper part of a column: the continuing contraction of the diameter with
height in order to give it the appearance of strength and elegance.
An arrangement of two rows of columns on the flanks of a Classical building. A temple surround by two rows of columns,
which meant that porticoes at either end were at least octastyle.
|DISTYLE IN ANTIS
A portico having two columns set between antae.
A portico of twelve columns.
A cupola; the term is derived from the Italian, duomo, a cathedral, the custom of erecting cupolas on those building having been
so prevalent that the name, dome has, in the French and English languages, been transferred from the church to this kind of roof.
The column and entablature developed by the Dorian Greeks, sturdy in proportion, with a simple cushion capital. This Order
was utilized by both the Greeks & the Romans.
A window pierced through a sloping roof and placed in a small gable which rises on the side of the roof. There do not appear
to be any dormers now existing of an earlier date than the middle of the fourteenth century. It was usually the window of the
sleeping - apartments; hence-the name Dormer, from dormitory.
(1) - The moldings and sculptured decorations of all kinds which are used on the walls and ceilings of a building for the purpose
of ornament; (2) - Applied to a square opening in the stonework of molding which surround it like a frame, such as a brick
building with stone dressings.
The conical shapes of guttae under triglyphs and the mutules of the Doric Order. Also known as droplets.
An attribute of power or victory.
The lower edge of a pitched roof which overhangs the face of a wall. An eaves cornice is therefore a cornice in that position.
The egg-and-anchor, or egg-and-tongue ornament, frequently carved on the ovolo in Classical architecture: the term is also
applied to the ovolo molding, but in strictness it belongs to it only when then enriched.
Also called egg-and-anchor, or egg-and-tongue is an enrichment found on ovolo or echinus moldings, and consists of upright
egg-like motifs with the tops truncated. Between them are arrow-like elements that repeat alternately. Egg-and-dart is best
confined to the late sharp arrow-head or spiked forms, which were narrower and spikier than the earlier tongue-like shapes, or
A Neoclassical French style associated with Napoleonic times. Roman motifs were used to identify France with Imperial Rome,
and Egyptian elements also were utilized.
A festoon of fruit, flowers, and leaves used to decorate a frieze.
|ENGAGED (or ENGAGED COLUMN)
A column partially built to a wall, not freestanding and more than half protruding from the wall. Engaged columns are also
referred to as "Attached," "Inserted," or "Applied." It must not be confused with a pilaster.
|ENTABLATURE (Fr. from Lat. - in tabula)
The superstructure which lies horizontally upon the columns in Classic architecture: it is divided into architrave, the part
immediately above the column; frieze, the central space; and cornice the upper projecting moldings. Each of the orders has its appropriate entablature, of which both the general height and the subdivisions are regulated by a scale of proportion derived from the diameter of the column.
Elaborate sculptured ornament.
The intentional slight convex curving of the vertical profile of a tapered column; used to overcome the optical illusion of
concavity that characterizes straight sided columns. In other words, it is the illusion from the transitioning of the dimensions
between the base to the top in a curve.
A shield on which a coat of arms is fixed.
One of the five species of intercolumniation in which the distance between columns is equivalent of two-and-a-quarter diameters.
|EXEDRA (or EXHEDRA) (Gr.)
(1) - The portico of the palaestra or gymnasium, in which disputations of the learned were held among the ancients: also, in
private houses, the pastas, or vestibule, used for conversation. (2) - The term also signifies an apse, with ranges of seats for
viewing the games in the Circus or Stadium. On the Palatine in Rome are remains of three of them, also a recess or large niche
in a wall, and is sometimes applied to a porch or chapel which projects from a larger building. (3) - It is also used synonymously
with Cathedra, for a throne or seat of any kind; for a small private chamber; the space within an oriel window; and the small
chapels between the buttresses of a large church or cathedral.
|EXTRADOS (Fr. from Lat. Extra, dorsum)
The exterior curve of an arch, measured on the top of the voussoirs, as opposed to the soffit or intrados.
The decorative central disc of an Ionic volute, sometimes enriched with a flower of other motif.
The exterior face or front of a building
Winged female figure blowing a trumpet, often found in spandrels, as in triumphal arches.
|FASCIA (or FACIA) (Lat. Facies = Face)
A broad fillet, band, or face, used in Classical architecture, sometimes by itself but usually in combination with moldings.
Architraves are frequently divided into two or three fasciae, each of which projects slightly beyond that which is below it.
An ornament of carved wreathes, garlands of flowers or leaves, or both - suspended in swags on walls and friezes. Festoons are
commonly found in Classical Architecture. The swags are represented as tied, so they are narrow at each extremity, and thickest
at the center of the hanging part.
A narrow plain band with a vertical face, interposed between adjacent mouldings, e.g. on a cornice.
|FINIAL (Lat. Finis = the end)
In Classical Architecture, surmounting any prominent terminal: it can be an obelisk, a thin pyramid, an acorn, a pinecone, a
pineapple, a ball, or an urn.
|FLEUR DI LIS (or FLEUR-DE-LYS)
A stylized lilly, related to anthemion ornament.
A flush bead molding is a bead set in a channel so that its outermost part is flush with the surfaces on either side.
A groove or channel, usually semicircular or semielliptical in section; used decoratively, as along the shaft of a column. There are
(20) flutes in the Greek Doric Order and (24) in the Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite Orders. Flutes are not typically seen for
the Tuscan Order.
|FRET (Lat. Fretum = a strait)
An ornament used in Classical architecture, formed by small fillets intersecting each other at right angles; the varieties are
The middle division of an entablature, which lies between the architrave and the cornice. In the Tuscan order it is always plain.
In the Doric Order it has slight projections at intervals, on which are cut three angular flutes, called triglyphs; the intervals between
these are called metopes, and are frequently enriched with sculpture. In the Ionic Order it is occasionally enriched with sculpture,
and is sometimes made to swell out in the middle, when it is said to be cushioned or pulvinated. In the Corinthian and Composite
Orders it is ornamented in a variety of ways, but usually either with figures or foliage.
The end wall of a building, the top of which conforms to the slope of the roof which abuts against it. In modern usage, the term is
applied only to the upper part of such a wall above eaves level, and the entire wall is called a gable-end. In Classical Architecture,
the low triangular gable, framed by low pitches of the roof is called a pediment.
Ornaments of flowers, fruits, and leaves - usually found in friezes or similar positions.
Properly, a small apartment on a roof with a view - also called a belvedere. A summer house, or any ornamental structure
commanding a view.
Architecture of the first four King Georges of England (1714 - 1830). The term is usually applied to a very simple form of
stripped Classical domestic architecture featuring plain window openings with sashes, doorcases that vary from the elaborate
treatment with consoles, pediments, columns, and pilasters - to plain openings with fanlights. During the Georgian period,
Rococo, Chinoiserie, and Gothick influences occurred - often in interior decoration or in ornamental buildings.
The Tuscan Order.
A sunken channel, usually vertical. The term is used to denote the perpendicular channels cut in the projecting tablets of a Doric
frieze which are called triglyphs from their having three vertical channels, or, more correctly two whole channels with a half-
channel at each side of the tablet.
Three female figures, supposedly called Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne - usually depicted holding each other's hands.
A cross with arms of equal length.
A labyrinthine fret used in bands, often on string-courses and sometimes on friezes.
The phase of Neoclassicism that involved using archaeologically correct elements from Ancient Greek Architecture following the
publication of a number of accurate surveys. The adoption of Greek Architecture involved considerable ingenuity on the part of
designers: towers and spires involving pile-ups of Greek motifs, and churches with galleries are but two obvious examples where
the style had to be used in highly original ways.
Animal with the head, wings, and claws of an eagle and the body of a lion.
A wall decoration of Roman origin, having human and animal figures interspersed with scrolls and foliage, to form a pattern
rather than a pictorial representation.
More than two columns grouped together on one pedestal. When only two columns are used, they are called coupled columns.
An ornament used in Classical architecture, formed by two or more intertwining bands. The term is adopted from the French.
Small ornaments resembling drops, used in the Doric entablature on the under side of the mutules of the cornice, and beneath the
taenia of the architrave, under the triglyphs. There are generally (18) of them under the mutules, set in three rows - each row
parallel to the front, and (6) under the regula.
A column projecting approximately one half its diameter, usually slightly more from a wall.
An agreement, balance, or repose between all the parts of a building - having connections with symmetry.
A monster with the head and breasts of a woman and wings and claws of a bird - usually found in Grotesque ornament.
A crown molding of the Greek Doric Order like a cyma recta with the upper concave curve concealed by a beak-like overhang.
|HELIX (pl. HELICES)
Little spiral ornaments or volutes, 16 in number, in the Corinthian capital - also called urillae, under the abacus. There are two at
each angle of the abacus, and two in the center of each face - branching form the caulicoli, or stalks, that rise between the acanthus
leaves. Vitruvius called the inner spirals only helices, calling the outer spirals a the corners volutae - which is also his term for the
volutes of the Ionic capital.
The spiral protruberant part of an Ionic capital.
A six-column portico.
The external angle formed by the meeting of the sloping sides of a roof, which have their wall-plates running in different directions: thus, when a roof has the end sloped back, instead of finishing with a gable, the pieces of timber in these angles are
called hip-rafters, and the tiles with which they are covered are called hip-tiles. The internal angles formed by the meeting of the
sides are termed the valleys, whether the latter is horizontal or sloping, and the piece of timber that supports a sloping valley is
termed the Valley Rafter.
A creature with the head and forelegs of a horse, and the tail of a fish.
A pinnacle, finial, or other similar ornament, placed on the top of the hips of a roof, or on the point of a gable. On ecclesiastical edifices, previous to the Reformation, crosses were usually fixed in these situations, but on other buildings ornaments of various
kinds were used; when applied to gables with barge-boards, the lower part of the hip-knob frequently terminated in a pendant.
They are, however, rather characteristic of sixteenth and seventeenth century work.
|HUSK (or BELLFLOWER)
A stylized, bud-like ornament - usually found in a string, margent, or festoon.
A covered colonnade: a hall with many columns.
In the Doric order, the horizontal grooves at the junction of the lowest part of the capital – the trachelion – and the top of the
When the surface of one material is cut away to a minimum depth in patterns, and metal, stone, cement, wood, ivory, or some
other substance is inserted to fill the hollows. It is finished to a flush surface, and the result is called Inlaid Work.
The distance between columns measured from the lower parts of the shafts in multiples of the diameter of the column. Greek
Doric intercolumniation was generally that of the monotriglyph (i.e. having one triglyph between two columns).
The spaces between dentils: in Roman work, the dentils are set closer together than in Greek work.
The space between window openings.
The space between pilasters.
The interior and lower curve of an arch: the upper curve is called the extrados. The soffit of an arch or vault, or its under-surface.
The Classical order of architecture, originated by the Ionian Greeks, characterized by its capital with large volutes, a fascinated
entablature, continuous frieze, usually dentils in the cornice, and by its elegant detailing, less heavy than the Doric, less elaborate
than the Corinthian. The Ionic Order is the second of the Orders used by the Greeks, and the third used by the Romans. The
column shaft is generally fluted, with fillets between the flutes.
A style based on the architecture developed in Italy from the end of the fifteenth century. It is essentially astylar, with
aediculated openings, and a large cornicione capping the elevation.
The side of a window, door, chimney with bears the weight of the wall.
|JETTIE (or JUTTY) (Fr.)
(1) - A part of a building that projects beyond the rest, and overhangs the wall below, as the upper stories of timber houses, bay
windows, penthouses, small turrets at the corners. (2) - Also used as a pier projecting into the water.
A term particular to masons, who use it in various senses relating to the fitting of stones together; almost every sort of jointing, in which one piece of stone is let or fitted into another, is called a joggle; what a carpenter would call a rebate is also a joggle in stone.
The horizontal timbers in a floor, on which the flooring is laid: also the small timbers which sustain a ceiling. In floors constructed
without girders there is usually but one thickness of joists, to the underside of which the ceiling is attached, but when girders are
used they are often double, (the upper row carrying the flooring, and the lower the ceiling,) with a series of larger timbers between
them, called binding joists; when this kind of construction is used the upper joists are called bridging joists.
The central stone, or voussoir, at the top of an arch; the last which is placed in its position to complete the construction of an
arch. The Bosses in vaulted ceilings are sometimes called Keys.
An open pavilion or summer house of light construction, supported on columns and surrounded by a balustrade - often found
A very flat bead-and-reel molding.
(1) - The end of a handrail which is turned out or down from the rail and curved so as to resemble a tongue. (2) - A cut
moldings, usually two ovolos separated by a fillet and set off by fillets at the other ends.
A symbol of enlightenment and immortality - often found on urns or vases.
One with (3) arms of equal length and the fourth much longer.
Reticulated or net-like work formed by the crossing of laths or narrow, thin strips of wood or iron - usually in a diagonal pattern.
A molding similar to the egg-and-dart but with a leaf carved on the oval shape, or substituted for the egg.
A beam over an opening to support the wall above.
A lodge, but more usually part of a building where one or more sides are open to the air. The opening is usually an arcade or
a colonnade. It can be a separate building, but it is more often an open gallery.
A common Greek and Egyptian ornament, often mixed with the palmette. Lotus flowers and lotus buds can sometimes be
(1) - An assembly of sloping, overlapping blades or slats; may be fixed or adjustable: designed to admit air and/or light in
varying degrees and to exclude rain and snow. (2) - A dome or turret rising from the roof of the hall of a medieval English
residence, originally open at the sides to allow the escape of smoke from the open hearth below; also called a lantern.
A semi-circular window generally at high level in a façade, compositionally of less significance than a Diocletian window.
|MANTEL (or MANTLEPIECE)
Properly, a decorative shelf in front of the manteltree, or horizontal beam over a fireplace. The mantelpiece is carried on the
jambs of the chimneyspace. This term has become corrupted to mean the frame surrounding a fireplace.
A strip of leaf and flower forms hanging from a point.
A square, elliptical, circular, or oval tablet on which are figures, designs, or busts - usually carved in relief.
A molding; as a cornice of five members, a base of three members. The term is also sometimes applied to the subordinate parts
of a building.
|METOPE (or METOPA)
The square space between two triglyphs of the frieze of the Doric Order - either plain or decorated with bucrania, trophies, or
The line formed by the meeting of moldings or other surfaces, which intersect or intercept each other at an angle.
Projecting brackets under the corona of the Corinthian & Composite Orders, and occasionally also of the Roman Ionic Orders.
Corinthian modillions are usually more elaborate than those of the Ionic or Composite Orders.
A measure of proportion by which the parts of an order or of a building are regulated in Classical architecture; it has been
generally considered as the diameter, or semi-diameter, of the lower end of the shaft of the column, but different architects have
taken it from different parts and subdivided it in various ways.
|MOLDING (or MOULDING)
A member of construction or decoration so treated as to introduce varieties of outline or contour in edges or surfaces, whether
on projections or cavities, as on cornices, capitals, bases, etc.
|MOULD (or MOLD)
The model or pattern used by workmen, especially by masons, as a guide in working moldings, and ornaments: it consists of a
thin board or plate of metal cut to represent the exact section of the moldings to be worked from it.
A projecting block worked under the corona of the Doric cornice, in the same situation as the modillions in the Corinthian &
Composite Orders. It is often made to slope downward towards the most prominent part, and has usually a number of small
guttae, or drops, worked on the underside.
In the Classical Orders, the space between the bottom of the capital and the top of the shaft, which is marked by a sinkage or a
ring of moldings.
A necking, which takes the form of a molding of any type.
The last architectural movement of European classicism in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It is characterized by
monumentality, strict use of the orders, and sparing application of ornaments. Neoclassicism had its roots in a rejection of
Baroque and Rococo, and in a search to rediscover the architecture of Classical Antiquity, considered a less corrupted source
than the architecture of the Italian Renaissance. An interest in the architecture of Ancient Rome was encouraged by Piranesi's
views of Rome, with their exaggerated scale and subline visual effects, but the noble simplicity and serene grandeur of Greek
Architecture extolled by Winckelmann encouraged investigation of the buildings of Classical Antiquity on a new scale.
|NEWEL (Old Eng.)
The central column around which the steps of a circular staircase wind; in the northern parts of the kingdom it is sometimes
continued above the steps up to the vaulting of the roof, and supports a series of ribs which radiate from it, as at Belsay. The
term is also used for the principal post at the angles and foot of a staircase. The newel staircase occurs in all turrets, as no other
staircase could be designed to occupy so small a space. It is essentially Gothic in its construction, and though it constantly occurs
in Norman work it is not found in the Classical styles.
The terminal feature of a newel post; often molded, turned, or carved in a decorative shape.
A recess in a wall for a statue, vase, or other erect ornament. Among the ancients they were sometimes square, but more often
semi-circular at the back, and terminated in a half-dome at the top; occasionally small pediments were formed over them, which
were supported on consoles, or small columns or pilasters placed at the sides of the niches, but they were frequently left plain, or
ornamented only with a few moldings. In middle-age architecture niches (often called Tabernacles), were extensively used,
especially in ecclesiastical buildings, for statues.
The Romanesque architecture of England from the Norman Conquest (1066) until the rise of the Gothic around 1180.
An eight-column portico.
An S-shaped double curve, one convex and the other concave. The cyma molding.
In Classical Architecture, a column entire, consisting of base, shaft, and capital, with an entablature. There are usually said to be
five orders: the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite; but the first and last, sometimes called the two Roman Orders,
are little more than varieties of the Doric and Corinthian, and were not used by the Greeks.
In architecture, every detail of shape, texture, and color that is deliberately exploited or added to attract an observer.
A convex molding much used in Classical architecture; in the Roman examples it is usually an exact quarter of a circle, but in the
Grecian it is flatter, and is most commonly quirked at the top. In middle age architecture it is not extensively employed; it is
seldom found in any but the Decorated style.
A style of architecture that evolved from the work of the sixteenth-century architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), and was
brought to Britain in publications. A revival of the style in the eighteenth century occurred in the area around Venice, but
achieved considerable success in Britain largely through the efforts of Lord Burlington (1694-1753) and Colven Campbell
An ornament rather like a fan made up of narrow divisions or digitations, somewhat resembling a palm leaf. It is found
alternating with the lotus.
An old term formerly used in reference to various parts of buildings, such as the sides of a tower, turret, spire, which were said
to be of four & eight panes, according to the number of their sides; it was also applied to the lights of windows, the spaces
between the timbers in wooden partitions, and other similar subdivisions, and was sometimes synonymous with the term panel.
Occasionally it was applied to a bay of a building.
Panels are usually held in place within a framework by means of molded beads. These moldings can be of various types,
including: bead, flush, or bolection - while panels can be carved, raised and fielded, or have other decorations.
An upright corbel over a pilaster and under a truss.
|PATERA (Lat. = Bowl)
A circular ornament resembling a dish, often worked in relief on friezes in Classical Architecture; the term has also come to be
applied to a variety of flat ornaments used in all styles of architecture. When further embellished to become a stylized
representative of a flower, it is called a rosette.
A support for a column consisting in Classical Architecture of a base, dado, and capital.
The triangular termination used in Classical Architecture at the ends of buildings, over porticoes, corresponding to a gable in
middle-age architecture. It is much less acute at the top than a gable. Most of the porticoes on the fronts of Greek and Roman
buildings support pediments; in Roman work the dressings over doors, and windows are sometimes arranged in a similar form,
and called by the same name; in debased Roman work pediments of this last-mentioned kind are occasionally circular instead of
angular on the top, a form which is also common in Italian architecture. The term is sometimes applied by modern writers to the
small gables and triangular decorations over niches, doors, windows, in Gothic architecture.
A garden structure with an open-framed roof, often latticed, supported by regularly spaced posts or columns. Typically flanked
by columns carrying joists to accommodate climbing plants.
A building with a continuous row of columns around it.
The range of columns surrounding a building or a court, also called the periptery.
A pilaster with no base or capital, also known as a lesene, and often found in Neoclassical work.
(1) - The solid mass between doors, windows, and other openings in buildings. (2) - The support of a bridge, on which the arches
rest. Piers are much more massive than columns.
A square column that is attached to and projecting from a wall. It must be half or less than half the width of the column.
A square post. It is distinct from a column.
A symbol of hospitality. Like the pinecone, acorn, and ball - a common form for a finial is atop a gate.
The angle between the slope of a roof or pediment and the horizontal.
A general term applied to almost all horizontal timbers which are laid upon walls to receive other timber-work: that at the top of
a building immediately under the roof, is a wall-plate; those also which receive the ends of the joists of the floors above the ground
floor are called by the same name. Plate tracery is the term applied to that kind of solid tracery which appears as if formed by
piercing a flat surface with ornamental patterns. It is used in contradistinction to Bar tracery.
The plain, continuous surface under the base molding of any column, pilaster or pedestal connecting it to the floor. Most
commonly, it is the square portion of the base.
With many columns.
The ornament on top of a pinnacle, finial, etc. Any globular ornament.
A range of columns in the front of a building; when of four columns, it is called tetrastyle; when of six, hexastyle; of eight,
octostyle; of ten, decastyle. The Latin porticus, however, from which the Italian portico and the French portique, as well as the
English porch is derived, has a more extended signification in all these languages; comprehending, in fact, every kind of covered
ambulatory of which one or more sides are opened to the air, by rows of columns or of arches, whether it be attached to the front
of a building or to its sides, or to the inner sides of an area, so as to form a cloister.
The vertical section, especially of a molding.
The just magnitude of each part, and of each part to another; the relationship existing between parts or elements that should
render the whole harmonious in terms of balance, symmetry, and repose.
With columns standing before the front of the building in a line.
The colonnade around the cell of a Greek temple.
The horizontal pieces of timber which rest on the principals, or main rafters, of a roof, and support the common rafters. In some districts purlins are called ribs, and rafters spars. Typically, purlins are a component of pergolas.
A square border or frame. The fillets of the Ionic base on the top and bottom of the scotia. The plinth or lowest member of a
|QUOIN (or COIN) (Fr.)
The external angle of a building. In middle-age architecture, when the walls are of rough stonework, or of flints, the quoins are
most commonly of ashlar. Brick buildings also frequently have the quoins formed in the same manner; and occasionally they are
plastered in imitation of stonework, as at Eastbury House, Essex. The name is sometimes used for ashlar-stones with which the
quoins are built; and it appears formerly to have also signified vertical angular projections formed on the face of a wall for
The inclined timbers forming the sides of a roof, which meet in an angle at the top, and on which the laths or boards are fixed to
carry the external covering. Commonly, an additional component in pergola structures.
Panels having a raised area in the center, connected with the plane of the panel by a moulding or a swept section.
The slope of a roof. A raking cornice is that on the slope of a pediment.
Heads or skulls of rams or goats appear in Classical ornament, associated with altars and festoons.
|REED (or REEDING)
A convex molding that runs the full length of the shaft; the reverse of fluting.
A flat, narrow molding.
A band below the taenia and above the guttae in a Doric entablature.
|RELIEF (or RELIEVO)
The projection of any sculpture or ornament from its background.
Meaning, literally: "Re-Birth," the Renaissance suggests a rediscovery of the architecture of Ancient Rome. In common usage,
the term implies architecture based on Italian prototypes from the early fifteenth century until it was superseded by Mannerist
and Baroque styles. It is generally held to begin with the work of Brunelleschi in Florence.
The plastering or facing, with stucco, pebbledash, or similar of an outside wall.
Anta, corbel, or element where an arcade or colonnade engages with a wall.
A wall built to hold up a bank of earth.
The continuation of a molding or projection in an opposite or different direction, with a terminating feature. The part that
returns, usually at a right angle, from the front of a building.
A continuous wave of foliate ornament - often a vine - on a band.
A light, frothy, elegant, and playful late phase of Baroque. It's style consists of the shell-like, coral, or marine forms associated
with grottoes and the like. Much Rococo ornament is asymmetrical, with S- and C-shaped curves
A bowtell or common round of semicircular or greater than semicircular profile.
A general term for all the debased styles of architecture which sprang from attempts to imitate the Romans, and which flourished
in Europe from the period of the destruction of the Roman power until the introduction of Gothic architecture.
A molding like a cable or twined rope.
|ROSETTE (or ROSE)
A kind of rose was sometimes used as an ornament on the face of the abacus on Corinthian capitals. It is also used as
a decorative ornament on a variety of surfaces with the purpose of adding an ornate touch.
|RUNNING DOG (or VITRUVIAN WAVE)
A repetitive Classical ornament in a frieze, also called a Vitruvian Scroll, with a wave-like scroll (volute) that is endlessly repeated.
A creature with goat-like legs and hoofs, a human male torso and face, and horns. It represents fecundity, lust, and unbridled
An electric lamp, resembling a candlestick or a group of candlesticks, which is designed and fabricated for mounting on a wall.
A concave molding, usually found at the base of a column or a pilaster between the fillets of the torus moldings.
A name given to a numerous class of ornaments, which in general character resemble a band arranged in undulations or
convolutions. A scroll is also another term for the volute of an Ionic, Corinthian, or Composite capital.
The portion of a column or pilaster between the base and the capital.
The top molding of a pediment, placed above the raking cornice. Not to be confused with cyma.
The exposed undersurface of any overhead component of a building, such as an arch, balcony, beam, cornice, lintel, or vault.
The approximately triangular space between an arched opening and the rectangle formed by the outer moldings over it. The
surface between two arches in an arcade.
A recumbent lion, sometimes winged, with a human head.
A step, floor, or story; the term is particularly applied to the spaces or divisions between the set-offs of buttresses in Gothic
architecture, and to the horizontal divisions of windows which are intersected by transoms.
An ornament in the Corinthian capital from which volutes and helices spring.
One of the number of narrow boards used to build up a column or pillar.
The upright pieces of a frame into which the ends of horizontal rails are fixed with mortices and tenons as in a panelled door.
A continuous base or substructure, consisting of the topmost step of a structure of three steps called the crepidoma, on which
a colonnade or a building with a peristyle is placed.
When the Orders are used to define the stories of a classical façade and set one above the other. They have a hierarchical order:
Doric is used at the bottom (being tough, primitive, and masculine). Ionic is above the Doric; and Corinthian is above the Ionic.
In taller buildings, the Tuscan is used first, then the Roman Doric, the the Ionic, then the Corinthian, and then the Composite.
A festoon resembling a cloth, or a string of flowers, or fruit that is suspended from two supports.
Uniformity or balance of one part of a building and another. Equal disposition of parts and the masses on either side of a center
line, as a mirror-image.
|TAENIA (or TENIA)
The fillet or band at the top of a Doric architectrave, separating it from the frieze.
A gradual diminution of thickness in a column.
A pattern or mold used by workmen, especially by masons and bricklayers as a guide for the shape of their work. It is usually formed of a thin board, or sheet of metal.
A four-column portico.
When turned upside down, this symbol that is usually placed on funerary monuments and often held by a putto, represents
death (the extinguishing of the flame). Upright torches are often associated with candelabra, and occur as decorative motifs in
A bold projecting molding, convex in shape, generally forming the lowest member of a base over the plinth.
The intersection of mullions and transoms of windows, screens, panels, or vaults. While most tracery is found in the various
styles of Gothic Architecture, early Renaissance variants featuring classical moldings, semicircular arches, and capitals, do exist.
Greek word for "neck." In architecture, it is the name referring to the neck of the capitals in both the Doric & Ionic orders. In
the Greek Doric capital, it is the space between the annulets of the echinus and the grooves which mark the junction of the shaft
and capital. In the Roman Doric and the Ionic orders, the term is given by modern writers to the interval between the lowest
moulding of the capital and the top of the astragal and fillet, which were termed the hypotrachelium.
A horizontal bar dividing a window into two or mor lights in height.
(1) - An intermediate horizontal member of a doorframe, window frame, or similar structure. (2) - A horizontal member which
separates a door from a window, panel, or louver above.
A frame of thin bars of wood used as a screen or on which plants may climb. The structure is cross-barred or lattice-work.
An ornament used in the Doric frieze, consisting of three vertical angular channels, or flutes, separated by narrow flat spaces.
They are not worked exactly in the same manner in the Grecian and Roman examples; and in the latter, when placed over
columns, are invariably over the center of them, but in the former, at the angle of an entablature, are placed close up to the angle,
and not over the center of the column.
A large, single column on a pedestal, erected as a public monument. The most celebrated example is that of Trajan (second
century AD) with its spiral bands of sculpture and its massive base that contained the tomb-chamber of the Emperor.
A simplified version of the Roman Doric Order, having a plain frieze and no mutules in the cornice. The Tuscan Order is
considered to be the simplest of the five Orders of Classical Architecture. Classically, the shaft of the column is never fluted,
and the capital has a square abacus. The base consists of a square plinth and a large torus.
A lidded vase (often draped) for ashes or cremated remains. Urns are also used as decorative motifs on top of the dies of
balustrades, or on walls, or in niches, or as garden ornaments. In more modern applications, urns are used as decorative accents
for mantels and fireplaces.
A dome over staircases or salons, that is, over any compartment that is more than one story high. Also known as a sail dome.
A running ornament consisting of leaves and tendrils, such as is frequently carved in the hollow moldings in Gothic architecture,
especially in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles; also called ‘Trail.’
Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola | Vignola
A peculiar pattern of scroll-work, consisting of convolved undulations, used in Classical architecture. The name given after the
great architectural writer Vitruvius. It is essentially a series of stylized waves. Also called a Running Dog.
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio | Vitruvius
|VOLUTE (Lat. bolutus = turned)
A spiral scroll forming the principal characteristic of the Ionic capital. Volutes are also used on the capitals of the Corinthian and
Composite orders. Examples will be found in the illustrations accompanying the article Order. At the same time, in the pattern
of the Norman capitals, the volute seems to be frequently retained; in the thirteenth century it takes the form of foliage, and is
This term originally seems to have implied rough planks of oak timber, and subsequently to have been given to wooden paneling, to which they were converted for lining the inner walls of houses and churches. It was extensively employed during the reigns of
Queen Elizabeth and James I, and for a long period afterwards. The name has long ceased to be confined to oak paneling. It is
also called Seeling-work.
An inclination given to horizontal surfaces to throw off water.
A twisted band, garland, or chaplet, representing flowers, fruits, leaves, etc. - often used as decorative elements.
A room, building, or apartment for the reception of strangers.
A spacious portico, usually attached to a gymnasium, in which athletes could exercise during inclement weather. It was also
referred as a walkway flanked by columns, trellises, or trees.
A paved area, generally at the rear of a house. An enclosed utilitarian area surrounded by walls or outbuildings.
Properly, a series of platforms, or a temple-tower, consisting of stages, each smaller in area than the one below. It is a form found
in Ancient Mesopotamia, but the name has been applied to stepped pyramidal forms, as often found in Classical design.
A frieze decorated with reliefs featuring animals.
Bibliography and Noted Sources:
Curl, James Stevens. Classical architecture: an introduction to its vocabulary and essentials, with a select glossary of terms.
London: Batsford, 2001.
Harris, Cyril M.. Illustrated dictionary of historic architecture. New York: Dover Publications, 19831977. Print.