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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
Edward Austin Kent in Buffalo, NY

So far as known there was only one resident of Buffalo aboard the ill-fated Titanic, Edward A. Kent, an architect, with offices at 1088 Ellicott Square, who made his home at the Buffalo Club. Mr. Kent was returning from a two-months trip abroad and was expected to reach home tomorrow.

Mr. Kent is a son of Henry Kent, formerly of the firm of Flint & Kent, 58 years old and unmarried. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, which he represented as a delegate at Berlin three years ago.

Many prominent buildings in Buffalo attest his architectural ability, these including the Jewish synagogue on Delaware avenue, the Flint & Kent department store, the store occupied by the Morgan Son & Allen Company, and a number of residences. He also designed the Toronto Board of Trading building.


A block, often used in a series, which projects beyond the edge of the enframement of an opening and is joined with the surrounding masonry. A block handled in such a manner is keyed to the masonry; see quoin.


The central wedge-shaped member of a masonry arch; also used as a decorative element on arches in wood structures.

King post

A vertical member connecting the apex of a triangular truss with the base.

The king post is usually strictly a tie intended to prevent the sagging of the tie beam in the middle.

In a common form of king post roof truss there are diagonal struts, supporting the main rafters, and bearing upon the enlarged foot of the king post.

Truss: A rigid framework, as of wooden beams or metal bars, designed to support a structure, such as a roof

Tie beam: In roof framing, a horizontal timber connecting two opposite rafters at their lower ends to prevent them from spreading

Kit / Catalog Houses

After World War I, between 1900 and 1917, middle class society was expanding and, for the first time, beginning to buy more homes. To meet growth demand, companies started expanding in the residential building industry. Kit houses purchased through mail-order became popular in the 1910s, allowing new homeowners to be a part of the design and building process and giving the option of buying the home in stages,

Between 1906 and 1940, thousands of North American homes in the United States and Canada were built according to plans sold by mail order companies such as Sears and Montgomery Ward.

Aladdin Homes of Bay City, Michigan premiered the idea of kit houses in 1906. It wasn't until 1908 that the largest provider of kit houses, Sears, Roebuck and Co., building upon its earlier forays into building materials and house plans, entered the market for complete kit houses.

Often the entire mail order house (in the form of labeled timbers) came via freight train.

Other times, builders used local materials to construct homes according to the mail order catalog house plans.

Knee brace

A diagonal support placed across the angle between two members that are joined; serves to stiffen and strengthen the members

The Keep of Rouen Castle

A keep (from the Middle English kype) is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the castle fall to an adversary.

The first keeps were made of timber and formed a key part of the motte and bailey castles that emerged in Normandy and Anjou during the 10th century; the design spread to England as a result of the Norman invasion of 1066...

The Anglo-Normans and French rulers began to build stone keeps during the 10th and 11th centuries; these included Norman keeps, with a square or rectangular design, and circular shell keeps. Stone keeps carried considerable political as well as military importance and could take up to a decade to build.

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