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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 kind of gouged or notched carving (with a rounded chisel).

Formed by scooping out a pattern with semi-circular gouge


A cella (from Latin for small chamber) or naos (from the Greek ναός meaning temple), is the inner chamber of a temple in classical architecture, or a shop facing the street in domestic Roman architecture (see domus). Its enclosure within walls has given rise to extended meanings, of a hermit’s or monk’s cell, and since the 17th century, of a biological cell in plants or animals.

National Historic Landmarks

National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. Today, fewer than 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction.


The central aisle; the part of a church located between the chief entrance and the chancel, and separated from the side aisles by piers or columns

This is the area where the congregation sits in pews.

Latin: "navis" = ship (an early symbol of the church)


The main post at the foot of a stairway or stoop.


in classical architecture is an exedra or an apse that has been reduced in size, retaining the half-dome heading usual for an apse.

Non-significant features

The interior architectural features of the designated interior that the LPC has determined do not contribute to the special historic, cultural, and/or aesthetic character for which the interior was designated. These features comprise all of the interior architectural features of the interior with the exception of those features that are underscored in the designation report.

Notice of Compliance


Notice of Compliance: A letter or notice from LPC that certifies that completed work complies with a permit


The age is characterized by the building of great Benedictine abbeys, the two-tower facade supplementing a central tower over the crossing, and the use of geometric ornamentation. Nearly every cathedral and abbey was rebuilt. (Most of the bishops and abbots came from Normandy.) Norman ("Romanesque") architecture in England continued until the rise of Gothic around 1180 with the building of the east end in Canterbury Cathedral.


Plain and massive Geometrical ornament, e.g., zigzag, crenelation Exterior: two facade towers Exterior: square crossing tower Interior: plain archways and capitals (cushion capitals) devoid of ornament Interior: arcades Interior: gallery Interior: clearstory Interior: open timber roof

Notice of Compliance

A letter or notice from LPC that certifies that completed work complies with a permit

Notice of Violation

A notice from the Landmarks Preservation Commission that work on a landmark site or within an historic district was performed without a permit or was not performed in accordance with a permit issued by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Nunda Blue Sandstone

Nunda: (NUN day) a town south of Geneseo, about 60 mi. from Buffalo, about 40 mi. south of Rochester sandstone: a sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation and compaction of sand and held together by a natural cement, such as silica

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