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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

brickwork with overlapping bricks. Types of bond include stretcher, English, header, Flemish, garden wall, herringbone, basket, American, and Chinese.


uncut stone that is laid in place in a building, projecting outward from the building, to later be carved into decorative moldings, capitals, arms, etc. Bossages are also rustic work, consisting of stones which seem to advance beyond the surface of the building, by reason of indentures, or channels left in the joinings; used chiefly in the corners of buildings, and called rustic quoins. The cavity or indenture may be round, square, chamfered, beveled, diamond-shaped, or enclosed with a cavetto or listel.


A projecting angled or curved form used as a support, found in conjunction with balconies, lintels, pediments, cornices, etc.

Bracket Sign

A rigid outdoor sign, with two display faces, installed perpendicular to a building facade and hanging from an armature, used as an announcement for an establishment in the building, consisting of the rigid display faces and all letters, words, numerals, illustrations, decorations, trademarks, emblems, symbols or their figures or characters associated with the name of the establishment that are applied to the faces. In addition, a bracket sign may consist solely of an outline of a shape and/or letters intended to act as a symbol or sign for the establishment.


large, horizontal beam supporting the wall above, especially in a jettied building.

Brick Molding

A milled wood trim piece covering the gap between the window frame and masonry, which can be rectilinear, curved, or composite-curved.

Building Plan

A drawing that shows a horizontal view

Building Streetwall

The predominant plane of the building facade at the level of the storefront.


The part of a storefront that forms a base for one or more display windows


vertical member projecting from a wall to stabilize it or to resist the lateral thrust of an arch, roof, or vault. A flying buttress transmits the thrust to a heavy abutment by means of an arch or half-arch.

Cable molding
  1. A twisted or spiral molding

  2. Any ornamentalornamental twist


Mercury's winged staff with two intertwined snakes, symbol of rebirth. Used today as the symbol of the medical profession

Found in "Classical architecture": the architecture of Hellenic Greece and Imperial Rome and derivatives, including Beaux Arts Classicism, Classical Revival, Federal, Georgian Revival, Greek Revival, Neoclassicism, Renaissance Revival


Coffer: a sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, soffit or vault

Caisson: an alternative name for a coffer

Found in Classical Greek and Roman architecture and derivatives, including Beaux Arts Classicism, Classical Revival, Federal, Georgian Revival, Neoclassicism, Renaissance Revival, Second Empire


The art of writing letters and words with decorative strokes; a hand lettering style that relies heavily on contrasting weights in the horizontal and vertical strokes. Generally done with a brush or quill pen

Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering.

From Greek kallos "beauty" + graphẽ "writing."

Calligraphic works range from functional inscriptions and hand lettering to fine art pieces where the artistic manifestation may take precedence over the legibility of the letters.


A slender rod of cast lead, with or without grooves, used in casements and stained-glass windows to hold the panes or pieces of glass together

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