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Architectural terms, their definitions in English and their translations

There are 321 entries in this glossary.
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Term Definition
Laurel leaves

is the source of the spice bay leaves. It was also the source of the Laurel wreath of ancient Greece, and therefore the expression of "resting on one's laurels". A wreath of bay laurels was given as the prize at the Pythian Games. It is also the source of the word baccalaureate (laurel berry) and thus bachelor, and of poet laureate.


A slab forming the crowning member of a capital. It consists of a square block, or one enriched with molding.

Latin: "abacus" = table, tablet

Greek Doric - square without chamfer or molding

Greek Ionic - thinner with ovolo molding only

Roman Ionic and Corinthian - the sides are hollowed on plan and have the angles cut off

Romanesque - the abacus is deeper but projects less and is molded with rounds and hollows, or merely chamfered on the lower edge

Gothic - the circular or octagonal abacus was favored in England, while the square or octagonal abacus is a French feature


The acanthus leaf was used as a decorative motif on the Corinthian capital and later on the Composite capital. The form is a stylized version of the plant’s long, slender leaves and pointed flowers.

Acroterion (Acroterium)


1- Blocks or flat pedestals resting on the apex and on the lowest ends of the pediment to support statues or carved ornaments.

2- The term is sometimes applied to the carved ornament itself, which resembled a stylized palmette.

Greek: "acroterion" - the summit or extremity Furniture: In English and American 18th-century furniture, the acroteria refers to the end blocks of the pedimented top of a secretary or bookcase, or the central block in a broken pediment which might hold an urn, vase, finial, or other ornament.

Adam style (Adamesque)

Later version of European Neoclassicism based on Robert's Adam's studies of excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii. Architecture

An architectural style based on the work of Robert Adam (1728-1792) and his brothers

Basically Neoclassical; it also adapted Gothic, Egyptian. and Etruscan motifs.

His decorative motifs -- medallions, urns, vine scrolls, sphinxes, and tripods -- were taken from Roman art and, as in Roman stucco work, are arranged sparsely within broad, neutral spaces and slender margins.

Robert Adam's interior/exterior decorative approach also included the following:

Flat grotesque panels
Elaborate color schemes
Delicate painted ornament, including

The style was predominant in England in the late 18th cent. and strongly influential in the U.S.A., Russia. and elsewhere.

The style reached America in the years immediately after the Revolutionary War. Labeled "Federal," it was enthusiastically embraced by Americans, who then adapted it to suit their own tastes and circumstances.


(Latin: small house, temple (almshouse)) Small structure intended to house a sacred image or statue. It may also be a niche set into the external wall of a building. The aedicula consists of pillars, columns or pilasters and a gable and was used in Roman temples as an attachment to house a statue.


subsidiary space alongside the body of a building, separated from it by columns, piers, or posts.


An important architecture element.



[ aar káyd ]

1.passageway with arches: a passageway or building with a series of arches and supporting columns 2.avenue of stores: a covered passage with stores on both sides 3.enclosed area with game machines: an enclosed area where people can play on coin-operated game machines such as pinball machines or video games


a method of spanning an opening, stronger than a lintel. Usually a curved or pointed structural member, however there are many different types. A curved symmetrical structure spanning an opening and typically supporting the weight of a bridge, roof, or wall above it..


person trained in the planning, design and oversight/supervision of the construction of buildings.


The lowest part of a classical entablature. 2. A molding enframing an opening such as a window or areaway or the open space between a rowhouse and the sidewalk, usually beside the stoop.


an Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.


A metal structural support for a rigid projecting sign. The armature may support the bracket sign by means of one or two projecting arms.

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