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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

A pseudo-balcony; a small window balcony

A balconet -- or guard rail -- fronting windows, prevented people from falling through deep sashes and provided a light and stylish miniature balcony.

A platform that projects from the wall of a building and is surrounded by a railing, balustrade, or parapet.

A gallery that projects over the main floor in a theater or an auditorium


An ornamental canopy over an altar, usually supported by columns, or a similar form over a tomb or throne

Ball Flower

an architectural ornament in the form of a ball inserted in the cup of a flower, which came into use in the latter part of the 13th, and was in great vogue in the early part of the 14th century.

Balloon framing

During the second half of the 19th century, one of the most important technological developments was the advent of balloon framing, whereby the framework of a house could be made out of uniform lumber; this was becoming increasingly available from commercial mills.

The first frames of this type were made in the early 1830s.

The framing system comprised inexpensive two-by-four-inch boards, combined as upright studs and cross-members and held together by cheap, mass-produced nails.

Eventually, by the turn of the century, balloon framing replaced traditional hewn timber construction and simplified the making of more complex architectural features, such as overhangs, bay windows and towers.

Plank construction (example from Black Rock, Buffalo, NY) for exterior walls was used until the 1830s


One of a series of short vertical posts, often ornamental, used to support a rail.


A railing composed of balusters and a top rail running along the edge of a porch, balcony, roof, or stoop.


Band/ribbon: One of a horizontal series of three windows or more, separated only by mullions, that form a horizontal band across the facade of a building In the US, most commonly found in buildings erected after 1900.


A decorative representation of a ribbon or long scroll, often bearing an emblem or inscription

Used in furniture, also.

Banking Interior

The area of the designated interior historically used for banking operations and any associated interior spaces including, without limitation, entrance vestibules or mezzanines identified in the designation report as part of the designated interior.

Baptismal font

Basin or vase, serving as a receptacle for baptismal water in which the candidate for baptism is immersed, or for receiving the water, which is poured over the head, in the ceremony of Christian initiation


Also called Vergeboard A board, often ornately carved or pierced, fixed to the projecting edge of a gable roof.


Style of art popular in Italy and throughout Europe in the 17th century. It consisted of rich and elaborate detail and complex design. The term possibly derived from the Spanish barrueca (a rare type of pearl with an uneven shape) which later assumed the French form, baroque.

Barrel roof

A straight, continuous arched vault or ceiling, either semicircular or semi-elliptical in profile A barrel vault is a simple, concave cylindrical roof surface which looks like a barrel. A disadvantage is that the entire vault must be built at the same time, and later repairs are difficult to make because the entire barrel vault is affected.


The lowest part of a structure, for example, a column

Found in almost all styles of architecture

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