Centre County Architecture (2009)

ashlar –squared stones, or sometimes wood shaped to look like squared stones that faces a building
baluster – one of a series of uprights, often vase-shaped, used to support a handrail
balustrade – the low wall made up of a series of balusters and railings
bargeboard – fancy, wooden ornately carved scrollwork, attached to and hanging down under the eaves of the
projecting edge of a gable roof
bay – sections of a building, usually counted by windows and doors dividing the house vertically
bell tower – used in Italianate style; sometimes the tower is even shaped like a bell, also called campanile
board and batten – a siding for a house consisting of wide vertical boards with strips (battens) covering where
the boards join
bracket – historically, a support element used under eaves or other overhangs. In Victorian architecture,
exaggerated brackets used under wide eaves are decorative rather than functional.
capital – top part of a column, usually decorated. Three classical Greek styles:
doric – earliest and simplest of the three
ionic – second
corinthian – latest and most ornate
carpenter gothic – ornate wood decoration; also called gingerbread, carpenter’s lace
cast-ironiron, shaped in a mold, brittle, hard, cannot be welded; in the 19th century it was used in American
commercial architecture, with cast-iron units used to form entire facades.
chimney pot – a pipe, usually earthenware, placed on top of a chimney to improve the draft
clapboard (weatherboard) – a house siding of long, narrow boards with one edge thicker than the other,
overlapped to cover the outer walls of frame structures
column – upright pillar serving as a support or ornament for a building
cornice – a decorative feature found under the eaves of a roof
– projecting ornamental molding along the top of a building or a wall
– in classical architecture, the uppermost projecting section of an entablature
course – a continuous horizontal row of brick or stone in a wall
cupola – small tower raised above the roof, also called a belvedere or “beautiful view
dentils – small, oblong blocks spaced in a band to decorate a cornice
dormer – an upright window projecting from the sloping roof of a building; also the roofed structure housing
such a window
eaves – the projecting overhang at the lower edge of a sloping roof
eclectic – a mixture of materials – brick, stone, shingles, clapboard
–a mixture of colors – especially different colors in slate
–a mixture of styles – taken from a wide variety of styles
ell – an addition or wing to a house that shapes it like an “L” or a “T”
entablature – in classical architecture, the part of the structure between the column capital and the roof or
facade – the front face of a building
fanlight – a semicircular or fan-shaped window with radiating members or tracery set over a door or window
finial – an ornament, often urn-shaped, used to decorate the top of a spire, gable, or pinnacle
gables – the triangular wall segments at the end of a double pitch or gable roof.
half-timberingwall construction in which spaces between wooden timber framing are filled with brick, stone,
or other material; used decoratively in 20th century houses
header – the end of the brick seen in a brick course
keystone – a wedge-shaped stone in the crown of an arch or center of a lintel to bind the structure
lancet – a narrow pointed arch
latticeopenwork produced by interlacing of wood laths or other thin strips, used as screening, especially
under a porch
leaded glass – small panes of glass held in place with lead strips; glass may be clear or colored (stained)
lean-to – a small building added to another building, usually covered by a sloping roof
lintel – the horizontal top piece of a window or door opening
newel – the principal post in a banister at the foot of a staircase and at the corners of landings
Palladian windows/doors – a round-headed window or door flanked by lower rectangular windows, and
separated by columns
pediments – a triangular section often used above doors and windows or as porch tops
pilaster – a flat form of a pillar or column applied to a wall and used as decoration
porte cochere – a large covered entrance porch through which vehicles can drive and passengers can alight
from a vehicle and enter a building
portico – a covered and usually projecting entrance porch supported by classical columns and often crowned
with a pediment, forming the centerpiece of the front facade of the building
quoins – rectangles of stone or wood used to accentuate and decorate the corner of a building
roofs – gabled: roof sloping downward in two parts from a central ridge; the gable is the part of an outside wall
in the shape of a triangle between the sloping roofs
gambrel: a ridged roof with two different slopes on each side of the ridge, the lower slope having a steeper
pitch (sometimes called a Dutch roof)
hipped: a roof with four uniformly pitched or sloping sides
mansard: two slopes on each of its four sides; one part very steep and curved, often with dormers
shingles – thin pieces of wood used in overlapping rows to cover roofs and exterior walls of houses;
sometimes shaped like fish scales
sidelightswindows at either side of a door
stoop – the landing and stairs, covered or uncovered, leading to the main entrance of a house
stretcher –the long side of a brick when laid horizontally
turret – a small, slender tower usually built into the corner and projecting above a building, often containing a
circular stair
veranda –a roofed, open gallery or porch; a large covered porch extending along one or more sides of a
building and designed for outdoor living.
windowssash: a frame in which the panes of the window are set
– double hung: a window with two sashes, one above the other, arranged to slide vertically past each other
casement: a window with the sash hung vertically and opening inward or outward


Sources Cited

Centre County Historical Society, Centre County Architecture, http://centrecountyhistory.org/glossary.html. Last accessed December 13, 2009.