Colonial architecture : Architecture transplanted from the motherlands to overseas colonies, such as Portuguese Colonial architecture in Brazil, Dutch Colonial architecture in New York, and above all English Georgian architecture of the 18th century in North American colonies.
Southern Colonial: An architectural style characterized by: one story or a story and a half, two end chimneys, brick (sometimes timber) construction, linear floor plan (i.e. one room deep), steeply pitched gable roof, and (sometimes) decorative treatment through the use of a variety of brick bonds and classical features (e.g., modillioned cornices, molded stringcourses, etc.).
Spanish Colonial style: An architectural style best known by the simple adobe to imposing Baroque inspired missions of the Southwest. Domestic architecture characterized by: single story structures with flat or low pitched roofs, stucco covered stone or adobe brick walls, multiple doors, and sometimes verandas as well as courtyards (patios) with corridors (interior verandas).
Creole house: Originally a person of European ancestry born in the West Indies or Louisiana during the French Colonial period. Soon expanded to include the descendants of French soldiers and African-West Indian women. Finally, it came to distinguish one likely to be of mixed racial and cultural background who, unlike strangers and foreigners, spoke the Creole language and was well acclimated to the complex culture and difficult environment of the New Orleans area.
Creole: Originally a person of European ancestry born in the West Indies or Louisiana during the French Colonial period. Soon expanded to include the descendants of French soldiers and African-West Indian women. Finally, it came to distinguish one likely to be of mixed racial and cultural background who, unlike strangers and foreigners, spoke the Creole language and was well acclimated to the complex culture and difficult environment of the New Orleans area.
Creole architecture: That of peoples of European descent in tropical and subtropical America – French, Spanish, English, etc., in the West Indies; French and Spanish in New Orleans, and the like. The term Creole differs in its special application, but means always, born in the new country of pure European stock; and this applies to cattle, poultry, etc., as well as to mankind.
Colonial – British (1607-1783)
Early Classical Revival: The Early Classical Revival style (1770-1830) can be considered a transitional style between the Federal and Greek Revival styles. In common with Georgian and Federal houses, an Early Classical Revival house usually has its long axis parallel with the street and a symmetrical facade; but the front facade usually features a portico or entrance porch supported by columns of Greek or Roman design, and the rooms are often arranged less symmetrically than in Georgian and Federal houses.
Greek Revival style: The final years of the 18th century brought an increasing interest in classical buildings to both the United States and Europe. This was first based on Roman models (Federal style), but archaeological investigation in the early 19th century emphasized Greece as the Mother of Rome which, in turn, shifted interest to Grecian models. The style is an adaptation of the classic Greek temple front employing details of Doric, Ionic or Corinthian order.
Greek Revival: An architectural style characterized by: low-pitched gable (or sometimes hipped) roof, a frieze, a pedimented gable, a porch (or portico) with usually non-fluted columns, insignificant chimneys, elongated six-over-six double hung windows, a four panel door flanked by side lights with a transom window above, and bevel siding.
Romanticism: Late-18th to early-19th c. artistic movement, its many variations and strands defying any neat definition. The one characteristic found throughout its sundry manifestations was the insistence on individual experience, intuition, instinct, and emotion. Commonly perceived as a reaction against the rationalism of the Enlightenment, Classicism, and Neo-Classicism, it nevertheless shared with Classicism reverence for the ideal, transcending reality, hence the term Romantic Classicism applied to works displaying a Romantic response to the Antique…
Cape Cod cottage: Originated with English settlers in the mid-1600s; although it is associated with the early Colonial period, the type actually prevailed well into the 1800s. The basic form consisted of a one- or two-room house with a loft above, and, often, a lean-to at the rear. Sometimes a third room was added at the end. A pitched, bowed, or gambrel roof sloped down just to the window tops. Built low and broad to withstand prevailing winds, the shingled or clapboard Cape Cod cottage often sat directly on timber sills without a foundation. If the sandy soil underneath eroded or blew away, the house could be dragged or floated to a new location.
New England houses: Like the Cape Cod cottage, this structure derived in the early 19th century from the central chimney hall and parlor cottage of New England. Two front rooms sit at either side of an entrance lobby from which a stairway ascends to two rooms in a half—story. Several smaller rooms are arranged across the first ﬂoor rear. Commonly, “lie-on-your-stomach” or “ankle” windows located below the eave of the gable roof (often in an entablature) light the upstairs rooms.
Cross House: A house with a cross-shaped plan where a building element intersects with the rectangular main structure, usually at the center entrance, and extends through the house to the rear, particularly in the 17th century Chesapeake Bay region.
center-passage plan: A two-room floor plan with an entry and central corridor dividing the house. A refinement of the hall-and-parlor house, particularly in Virginia and Maryland from the later 18th century on.
pattern book designs: Imported beginning in the 18th century, a book of drawings intended as a guide for American housewrights and carpenters to the popular English styles of the time. In the 19th century, pattern and plan books were published in the United States by American designers and were very influential in promoting specific styles and philosophies for living.
Shaker architecture: The Shakers (or United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) were founded by the English-born Ann Lee (1736-84), who emigrated to America (1774) and gathered around her sufficient followers to establish a religious sect. Believing that odd or fanciful styles of architecture, with moldings, cornices, etc., should be eschewed, the Shakers created plain meeting-houses in which they could perform their ’round dances’ that were part of their ritual, so large areas of floor-space were essential. Believing also that light and cleanliness were the antithesis of evil, buildings had numerous windows…
loophole: For defensive purposes in Colonial times, a narrow vertical opening in the exterior wall from which to observe the enemy and return fire. In masonry construction, the sides of the opening are splayed, making it much wider on the inside.
gauge: To rub brick for contrast in color and texture to adjacent brickwork, as in colonial Virginia. 2. To add lime putty to cement mortar. 3. To slow the setting of plaster by adding a substance such as glue. 4. To hasten the setting of plaster by the addition of plaster of Paris. 5. The measure of thickness, of sheet metal; or of wire, the diameter. 5. The spacing of tufts across the width of a tufted or knitted carpet, expressed in fractions of an inch. 6. The portion of the length of a shingle, slate, or roofing tile left exposed to the weather when laid in place. 6. Any of various standards for designating the thickness or diameter of a thin object, as the thickness of sheet metal or the diameter of a wire or screw. Also, gage.
Stone-Ender: A gable-ended, timber framed Colonial house strongly associated with early Rhode Island and known for the massive fireplace that constituted nearly the entire end of the house as seen from the outside.
Hall-and-Parlor: A two-room plan common in the English colonies. The hall served as a general reception, entertaining, and work space while the parlor was usually for sleeping, although there were many variations.
Colonial – Swedish (1638-1655)
German/Swiss Colonial style: Germanic housing in the colonies was typically well built and designed for efficiency. One of the earliest Germanic building types in Pennsylvania was the tripartite house, which reflected the Old World tradition of combining a house, a threshing area, and a stable under the same roof. For convenience, a springhouse was often incorporated directly into a dwelling, which might also include an attic meat-smoking room, or Rauchkammer, connected to the chimney stack. Particularly practical building types were the bank house and bank barn, built into a ground slope to provide cool lower-level storage rooms. The majority of early Germanic houses in America were simple, well-built log dwellings, although it is mostly the stone buildings that have survived. Stone, considered a status symbol, was favored primarily by the rural gentry. The typical Germanic plan was asymmetrical three-room layout, placing the kitchen (Kich, in Pennsylvania German) on the main level, usually to the right of the chimney. To the left was the stove room (Schtupp), with a sleeping chamber (Kammer) in the rear. By the mid-1700s, many Germanic settlers had adopted the Georgian center-hall plan.
log buildings: Although the Swedes were the first settlers to build log structures in America, the major tradition of log building here originated independently in the late 1600s to the early 1700s with German-speaking settlers in the mid-Atlantic region. From Pennsylvania and Virginia, the tradition of log building began spreading south and west with migrating Germans and Scots-Irish in the 1730s and reached its height during the period of frontier expansion from the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries. The basic log house form was the one-room, or single-pen, plan. The central-chimney “saddlebag” plan evolved when the single-pen house was enlarged by setting the gable end of a second log building against the chimney of the existing structure. An easier way to add on to a log house was to place a second cabin next to the first, gable to gable, and simply roof over the intervening space, producing the “dogtrot” (two pens and a passage) house. Pine and spruce were the preferred woods.
United States of America
George Washington, 1789-1797
John Adams, 1797-1801
Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
Neoclassical Architects: In America, these included Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), William Thornton (1759-1828), Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820) and Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844).
romantic: The early 19th century Neoclassical (which see) architectural styles are referred to as “Romantic” because, unlike the preceding Renaissance Classical (which see) styles which appealed to the intellect, they appealed primarily to the emotions. The various 19th-century Revival styles (Greek, Gothic, Egyptian, etc.), as well as the Italianate and Italian Villa styles, are considered Romantic.
Roman Classicism: Typical of Roman Classicism is the one-story Roman temple form employing variations of the Roman orders. The raised first floor is characteristic of design inspired by the proper Roman temple built on a platform or podium. The four-columned portico with pediment enclosing a lunette is one of the most often copied features in the Roman idiom which was popularized by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). Generally classical moldings are left plain without enrichment and painted white.
Roman Classicism style: Neoclassical version inspired by Renaissance-inspired Palladian Neoclassical style. Thomas Jefferson owned three copies of Palladio’s books and used Palladian ideals in designing Monticello, etc. This vision of Neoclassicism competed with the simpler Federal style.
American Directory: Directorie provided the inspiration for American Directory (c. 1805-30) – a variant of the USA Federal style (1776-c.1830) in general terms, except that the favored motifs in the USA were those of Freemasonry.
James Madison, 1809-1817
James Monroe, 1817-1825
corn-cob: Carving of the woody receptacle to which the grains are attached in an ear of maize, used in a variation of the Corinthian Order invented by Latrobe for the US Capitol Building, Washington, DC, after 1814, and called the American Order. Corn-cobs recur as 19th c. finials, popularized by Latrobe’s designs.
plantation: In the 19th century, a large, often immense, agricultural operation owned by a single person or family. It concentrated on a particular cash crop, such as cotton or tobacco, typically relying on slave labor. In the Colonial period, plantation was synonymous with farm.
John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841
William Henry Harrison, 1841
John Tyler, 1841-1845
Renaissance Revival: Design recalling the Italian Renaissance architecture of the 15th century. In the United States, note the relatively minor Italian Renaissance Revival of 1840-60 and the academic Second Italian Renaissance Revivals of 1880-1935.
James Knox Polk, 1845-1849
Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850
Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853
Romanesque commercial building: The Romanesque commercial style was not as widespread as the Italianate. Nor was the style so easily accomplished in vernacular building, since it was often combined with what is now called Queen Anne detailing. The Romanesque was a picturesque mode of expression. At its most ambitious level, the vernacular Romanesque used coursed, rock-faced sandstone blocks with round-arch windows and a low, wide, arched entrance. Emphasis was on surface texture and the rhythm of the arches or arcades…
Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
bessemer process: Bessemer steel is made by pouring molten iron into a bottle-shaped vessel lined with refractory material, and blowing air through the iron until the carbon and silicon are burned out. The combustion of the carbon and silicon produces sufficient heat to keep the mass thoroughly melted. If the lining of the vessel is silicious or acid all the phosphorus and sulphur remain in the steel. By the Thomas Gilchrist method a basic lining is used, and the steel is made free of phosphorus.
James Buchanan, 1857-1861
AIA: The American Institute of Architects. Members are permitted the use of the letters following their names. Fellows use F.A.I.A.
Second Renaissance Revival: Buildings in the Renaissance Revival style show a definite studied formalism. The tightly contained cube is a symmetrical composition of early 16th century Italian elements. Characteristics include finely cut ashlar that may be accentuated with rusticated quoins, architrave framed windows, and doors supporting entablatures or pediments. Each sash may have several lights or just one. A belt or string course may divide the ground or first floor from the upper floors. Smaller square windows indicate the top or upper story.
Italian Renaissance Revival: Arriving in the late 19th century, this style was a much grander interpretation of northern Italian Renaissance villas and palaces than the earlier Italianate and Italian Villa styles, resulting in more luxurious mansions.
Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869
Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877
mansard cottage: Throughout 1870-80 the cottage with a mansard roof was referred to as a French cottage, and historians link this cottage to the development of the Second Empire style. In vernacular design the French cottage was less Second Empire than the design of high-style buildings, and it was more generally French. One could argue that it was a hybrid affair with Italianate features, and that over time it absorbed other kinds of cottage detailing.
bay-front double house: The bay-front double house, primarily a 19th-century building, was a two- or three-story structure with several roof options: a mansard roof, a gable roof with the ridge parallel to the street, or a ﬂat roof and accompanying parapet. The primary design scheme required a full-height, usually three-sided bay window or pavilion on each end that ﬂanked a double entrance. The bays terminated in their own roofs. Dormers were frequently built on these units to utilize attic space, especially on those with mansard roofs…
three-family house: The triple decker, a unique three-family structure, originated in New England mill towns and cities. Constructed from about 1870 to 1920, the triple decker, could absorb cottage details even though it had outgrown the cottage scale. Most were long, rectangular buildings with the narrow side toward the street that provided three living spaces, one family to a floor. Most stacked one unit over the next, and ground-level motifs were repeated throughout an elevation. The main entrance, which might have an entrance porch, was on one side of the facade. Bay windows were common on either the facade or a side elevation. Roof treatments included ﬂat roofs with an overhanging cornice, and gable-to-the-street roofs with a closed gable. Regardless of the facade porch treatment, most of these buildings had rear-access porches on all three levels…
triple decker: The triple decker, a unique three-family structure, originated in New England mill towns and cities. Constructed from about 1870 to 1920, the triple decker, could absorb cottage details even though it had outgrown the cottage scale. Most were long, rectangular buildings with the narrow side toward the street that provided three living spaces, one family to a floor. Most stacked one unit over the next, and ground-level motifs were repeated throughout an elevation. The main entrance, which might have an entrance porch, was on one side of the facade. Bay windows were common on either the facade or a side elevation. Roof treatments included ﬂat roofs with an overhanging cornice, and gable-to-the-street roofs with a closed gable. Regardless of the facade porch treatment, most of these buildings had rear-access porches on all three levels…
Colonial cottage: From 1870 to 1940 several Colonial Revival houses developed; this section deals with two of them. The fervor for American culture that swept the country after the 1876 Centennial resulted in the revival of two house types, the New England eighteenth-century cottage of English medieval origins, and the Georgian. Well into the twentieth century the vernacular tradition included these in its inventory, as well as the Dutch gambrel, the so-called Cape Cod, and the large hipped and pedimented cottages with colonial motifs, which are all discussed in other sections…
center-gable cottage: The center-gable cottage has a long history of development that seems to emerge from the application of gables to Gothic revival houses. During the period 1870-1940, the gable itself, while always aligned over the entrance door, lost its narrow, steeply pitched gable roof and widened to function more properly as a dormer. This house, built during the period 1870-90, was rectangular in shape, with the Wide side toward the street, and has a central hall plan with four rooms to each ﬂoor. The center gable was a frame house with clapboard siding, although shingles were later used in gable ends. The fenestration was symmetrically arranged in three bays. The house had a porch that was shallow in the older models and shallow but wide in the later ones. The porch carried its own roof supported by square posts…
hipped cottage: The hipped cottage is a generic house type that was built throughout most of the 1870-1940 period. It had the unique ability to be rendered in many styles, from Italianate to prairie, and could be adapted to most climatic conditions. This cottage was a classic box characterized by a large hipped roof, an almost square floor plan, and compact massing often cubical in shape. In many parts of the country it has been called a four-square. But no matter what its name or form, it is a substantial and dignified house…
apartment hotel: A building intended to be occupied in separate apartments; especially in American cities since 1870, a home for independent housekeeping by generally more than two families… Low-priced apartments are frequently called flats.
Italianate commercial building: In the Italianate storefront popular during the 1870s and 1880s, the window treatment (which included the shape and size of the window and the lintel or sill), the cornice line, and the corners of the building offered the most opportunities for detail from the limited design possibilities. Windows were generally long and narrow, and lintels and sills were of metal, brick, stone, or cement. Lintels were visually heavy units, segmented or rounded. Metal pieces had ornamented surfaces. The cornice was most often metal and had an entablature organization—architrave, frieze, and cornice—with heavy brackets at the corners and lighter, perhaps paired, brackets across the cornice. Façade designs that divided the ﬁrst ﬂoor from the second had an ornamented beam or surface moldings that capped the display windows. The corners of buildings could be quoined in brick or stone, or pilasters or half columns might mark the edges and frame the lower level. It was also common to stack the upright elements on top of one another…
iron-front commercial building: The iron-front store was built in all geographical areas, the technology needed to produce iron architectural materials being almost as transportable as the materials. The mold makers had a predilection for classical details, so that most iron-front stores have at least a pair of plain pilasters at the corners or a set of stacked half columns with an entablature. Ironwork was integrated with pressed or stamped tinwork. While the iron posts and beams framed the facade, tin pieces were used for lintels or surrounds around the windows and for the large, bracketed, molding-heavy cornice. All metal pieces were painted to prevent rust…
Two-Part Block style: The two-part block is the most common form for small and moderate-sized commercial buildings in the United States. This type of building is generally limited to two to four stories, and is characterized by a horizontal division into two distinct zones. The two-part division of the exterior zones typically reflects differences in its interior use. The street level indicates public spaces for commercial enterprises, while the upper section suggests more private spaces reserved for offices, meeting halls or apartments.
skyscraper construction: The method of construction developed in Chicago in which all building loads are transmitted to a ferrous metal skeleton, so that any external masonry is simply a protective cladding.
commercial style: The Commercial Style is a common term for the aesthetic that characterized much of early skyscraper design with steel and beam construction, large storefront windows, classical detailing, decorative cornices, and flat roofs.
false-front commercial building: The false-front commercial building has been associated with the settlement of the west, but false-front buildings were in fact built in upstate New York as well as in Iowa, Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming. The false-front has been associated with stores, and there is no doubt that the one- and two-story storefront is the most common of extant vernacular commercial buildings. This kind of building was used for services, small hotels, and as a meeting hall for social and fraternal organizations…
raft foundation: A foundation type developed in Chicago in the 1870s in which beams of either wood or steel are laid crosswise over piles and encased in concrete to form a pad for the base of a structural pier or column.
Chicago School of Architecture: Leading group of pioneer skyscraper architects, led by William Le Baron Jenney (1832-1907). Also see Second Chicago School of Architecture (c.1940-75) led by Mies van der Rohe.
arcaded block commercial building: From the last quarter of the 19th century right down to the present, much attention has been paid to the corner commercial building, particularly one marking the edge or the heart of a business district. The arcaded block was just such a building. It was intended to be an imposing building with a strong overall shape, solid massing, and firm lines on both its elevations. It was rarely uniform in size, for one elevation was often larger than the other, and one might have been designed somewhat differently from the other. As a corner property, the arcaded business block had a rich design vocabulary stemming from the history of business-block development after the Civil War and the introduction of a new sensibility. High-style architects such as H.H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan had demonstrated how an elevation could be integrated through the use of arches, round-headed elements, or arcades. The curvilinear elements were usually linked, which helped to break the wall away from domination by vertical bays. The new look presented windows in bands or clusters of light. This kind of design often gave a lighter feeling to portions of the wall and at the same time focused the design on the intersection of the walls. That corner often culminated in a tower that rose from a recessed or canted ground-level entrance…
Richardsonian Romanesque: An architectural style characterized by: round arches over door and window openings, a heaviness of appearance created by rock faced stonework and deep window reveals, an asymmetrical façade, towers with conical roofs, porches with broad round arches supported by squat piers, and steep-gabled wall dormers.
Shingle style: An architectural style characterized by: uniform wall covering of wood shingles, hip or gable roofs with dormer windows, irregular roof line, small-paned windows, no corner boards, and a generally toned down appearance from that found with the Queen Anne style.
continuous business block: From the last quarter of the 19th century right down to the present, much attention has been paid to the corner commercial building, particularly one marking the edge or the heart of a business district. The arcaded block was just such a building. It was intended to be an imposing building with a strong overall shape, solid massing, and firm lines on both its elevations. It was rarely uniform in size, for one elevation was often larger than the other, and one might have been designed somewhat differently from the other. As a corner property, the arcaded business block had a rich design vocabulary stemming from the history of business-block development after the Civil War and the introduction of a new sensibility. High-style architects such as H.H. Richardson and Louis Sullivan had demonstrated how an elevation could be integrated through the use of arches, round-headed elements, or arcades. The curvilinear elements were usually linked, which helped to break the wall away from domination by vertical bays. The new look presented windows in bands or clusters of light. This kind of design often gave a lighter feeling to portions of the wall and at the same time focused the design on the intersection of the walls. That corner often culminated in a tower that rose from a recessed or canted ground-level entrance…
Sullivanesque: An intricate weaving of linear and geometric forms with stylized foliage in a symmetrical pattern is the unique element of the Sullivanesque style, originated by Louis Sullivan (1856-1924). Bold geometric facades are pierced with either arched or lintel-type openings. The wall surface is highlighted with extensive low-relief sculptural ornamentation in terra cotta. Buildings often are topped with deep projecting eaves and flat roofs. The multi-story office complex is highly regimented into specific zones – ground story, intermediate floors, and the attic or roof. The intermediate floors are arranged in vertical bands.
Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881
James Abram Garfield, 1881
Chester Alan Arthur, 1881-1885
American Renaissance: The Beaux-Arts style, also called the American Renaissance, is about as formal as architecture can get. Based on classical European precedents primarily French and Italian palaces and palazzos of the 16th to the 18th century – this grandly formal style transformed America’s major cities between the 1880s and the 1920s after being introduced at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago to an eager nation that had begun to tire of Victorian excesses.
Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893
skyscrapers: The Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was an early example of iron and glass construction, followed in 1864 by the first glass and metal curtain wall. A further development was that of the steel-framed skyscraper in Chicago around 1890 by William Le Baron Jenney and Louis Sullivan.
City Beautiful movement: The Beaux Arts style was popularized during the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. One outgrowth of the Expo was the reform movement advocated by Daniel Burnham: the City Beautiful Movement.
Academic Movement: The dominant influence in American architecture from the 1890s through the 1920s, emphasizing order and unity in design, expression appropriate to size and use, and adaptation of precedents drawn from a wide range of historical examples.
Mission Revival: Variant of American Colonial Revival which drew on the RC mission buildings in CA popularized from the 1890s after the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, IL (1893). It is characterized by arcades, balconies, courtyards, and towers, with plain rendered walls and pan-tile roofs, and an absence of ornament or frippery…
Pueblo Revival: A predominantly Southwestern architectural style characterized by: flat roofs with projecting rounded roof beams (called vegas); stucco covered battered walls with rounded corners; multi-paned, straight-headed windows set deeply into walls; and stepped or terraced upper stories.
California mission: Celebrating the architecture of Hispanic settlers, Mission style houses feature arched dormers and roof parapets. Some resemble old Spanish mission churches with twin bell towers and elaborate arches. By the 1920s, architects were combining Mission styling with features from the craftsman and Prairie movements.
Grover Cleveland, 1893-1897
California bungalow: As built from 1895 to 1915—its first development period—the bungalow was known as the California bungalow. Because of the nature of the design and the kind of living which that design suggested, it was appropriate for this form to develop on the west coast.
colonial kitchen: In the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries, a kitchen inspired by the kitchens of Colonial America. A colonial kitchen is usually large, with a wide, open hearth, and contains no modern conveniences (or else contains modern conveniences contrived to look pre-modern). Colonial revivalists of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries looked back upon colonial dwellings, especially colonial kitchens, with nostalgia for earlier, pre-industrial times. The colonial kitchen display of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago was exceedingly popular amongst Colonial Revival enthusiasts.
Elizabethan architecture: In the United States, the term often refers to late-19th- and early-20th-century English Revival architecture that used “black-and-white” half-timbering. Based vaguely on late medieval, rambling English cottages, it is often used interchangeably with Tudor.
gingerbreading: Wooden architectural ornament popular with American folk houses in the late-19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in the Stick Style. Gingerbreading often took the form of scalloped or zig-zag-edged clapboards, which were often painted in contrasting colors. At times, gingerbreading could be superfluous and almost gaudy, with excessive frills and curlicues. The widespread use in the mid-19th century of the jigsaw – a hand tool consisting of a handle attached to a small, thin blade – made gingerbread decorations readily available to home builders.
Colonial hipped cottage: Colonial-style hipped roof cottages appeared before the end of the 19th century, but were especially popular during the first few decades of the 20th. The overall shape and plan were closely related to the generic cottage. There is historical continuity in the use of a square plan and the cubical shape, but the real essence of this colonial revival lay in the application of colonial motifs to the basic form. The entire design became formal and, for the most part, restrained. The roof took on a ﬂat with a balustrade, while chimney caps were vaguely colonial or Queen Anne. The roof carried a central hipped dormer. The façade received slightly different treatments on each level, the first floor being a wide, plain wall pierced by large cottage windows, by a paneled door with molding plants derived from historic patterns, and occasionally by sidelights. The porch was distinctly classical: the porch posts were columns, and most often the porch treatment included an order of architecture complete with a short pediment over the porch steps. The second-ﬂoor windows did not align with the ﬁrst. Windows were indented toward the center, which often displayed an oval window on the center line. In a few cases, a second-ﬂoor door replaced the oval window for access to a balcony…
open-gable cottage: A cottage with a wide gable and plain form. It could just as well be called the flush-wall, center-axis cottage, because these features characterize its design, but that would be an awkward label. The open-gable was built for almost 50 years throughout most of the country. It has been a two-story house, though there were one-and-a-half story versions clad in brick, shingle, and clapboard, the last being the most prevalent. The open-gable cottage has clean lines, simple form, and no projections off the façade; it carries the façade wall up into the gable, with no distinction between façade and gable until the early 1890s. This house has a classical orientation, in that the façade is a linear temple front in which thin corner boards or pilasters carry a low, wide pediment. The introduction of cornice returns reinforces this impression. The façade is organized around a center axis running from the apex of the gable to the ground level. Able windows are placed on or along the side axis, and porches with three posts have the middle post placed on the same line. What detailing appears is often derived from bungalow or Craftsman designs.
bay-front rowhouse: The bay-front rowhouse was one of the last editions of this universal city house. Later 19th century and early 20th century builders looked for ways to address the narrow facade. Most frequently they extended the house by means of a porch replacing the traditional stoop, and compressed the upper level with a three-sided oriel window. There were other variations in the window treatment on the second ﬂoor, but most motifs involved replacing the sash windows with an alternative form…
conch house: Natives of the West Indies – many immigrating to America to work in Florida’s cigar industry – brought the Conch house to Miami and Key West in the late 19th century. (Native Bahamians were colloquially called “Conchs” at that time.) This simple one- or two-story building form was raised on piers and featured a porch or two-story gallery, often decorated with gingerbread trim, to catch cool breezes. The earliest examples are said to have been crafted by ships’ carpenters using a cross-braced timber system based on shipbuilding techniques, but the vast majority are actually balloon frame structures sheathed with clapboards.
New American landscape: Late-20th c. style developed in America involving more sustainable, ecologically sound landscapes, and rejecting ‘passive vegetative architecture’ in favor of bold massing of perennials and wild grasses, responding to light, wind, and seasonal change: it was paralleled by New Perennials or Dutch Wave planting…
William McKinley, 1897-1901
Colonial gambrel cottage: The colonial gambrel cottage is a subtype of the generic model. Throughout most of its history, which includes authentic 18th-century examples as well as several revival-style types, the house has been thought of as Dutch in origin and spirit. The revival style was popular during 1900—1940 and was referred to as Dutch colonial. The shape of the building was strongly dictated by the shape of the roof, which in the Dutch-Flemish tradition frequently had ﬂared eaves. In many models the ﬂare was wide enough to provide some shelter over the entrance. The roof ridge ran parallel to the street, so that the facade was available for a full design treatment. A three-bay front was common, but five-bay units can be found. The second-floor level was outlined by either a long shed dormer that covered most of the roof, or by two or three evenly spaced gable dormers. The dormers were repeated on the rear elevation. The entrance was understated, with only a hood or a pediment to mark the door and the shallow porch. Some pediments evolved into porticoes with slender columns. Fenestration was for the most part symmetrical on all elevations…
Carrara glass panels: In 1900, the Marietta Manufacturing Company claimed to be the first producer of pigmented structural glass, rolling the first sheet of a “substitute for marble,” Sani Onyx. The company advertised “Sani-Onyx” as an easy-to-clean, germ-free surface.
band window: 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.
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.
Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909
Prairie School: An early 20th-century design that rejected historical and Classical styles in favor of open, flowing floor plans and a strongly horizontal character, suggesting, some say, the Midwestern prairie. Centered in Chicago, it is strongly associated with its boldest practitioner, Frank Lloyd Wright, although he worked beside several capable peers.
Prairie style: An early 20th-century design that rejected historical and Classical styles in favor of open, flowing floor plans and a strongly horizontal character, suggesting, some say, the Midwestern prairie. Centered in Chicago, it is strongly associated with its boldest practitioner, Frank Lloyd Wright, although he worked beside several capable peers.
Prairie: An architectural style characterized by its overall horizontal appearance (which is accomplished through the use of bands of casement windows, long terraces or balconies, flanking wings, low pitched roofs with wide overhangs, and darkly colored strips or bands on exterior walls).
Twentieth Century Commercial style: In the early 1900s a new commercial style developed as a reaction to the ornate Victorian architectural styles of the late 19th century. This style became popular because of its adaptability to a variety of building types, especially the new one-story, flat roofed commercial building, which appeared in the City of Buffalo in the early 1900s. The character of the Early Twentieth Century Commercial buildings is determined by the use of patterned masonry wall surfaces, shaped parapets at the roofline that were often uninterrupted by a project cornice and large rectangular windows arranged in groups. The “Chicago window,” a three-part window with a wide, fixed central light flanked by two narrower double-hung sashes, is a common feature. Identifying features of this style include a plain, flat appearance that is relieved by the use of panels of brick laid in patterns and sparingly used inset accents of tile, concrete, limestone or terra cotta.
square house: This structure is a square or nearly square box with peaked-hip roof (sometimes truncated at the very top). Being two rooms wide and two rooms deep, it is essentially a 2- or 2 1/2—story version of the pyramidal cottage. However, most cube houses provide substantially greater ﬂoor space than pyramid cottages. This form type was popular throughout the first three decades of the 20th century.
movie theater: The movie theater took many shapes in the early years of the motion-picture industry. Early theaters were often shops or stores converted to the new use with little accommodation for the medium. As the motion picture became a significant force in American culture, the movie theater acquired architectural style.
IES: Illuminating Engineering Society, a professional society in North America devoted to the development and dissemination of standards and procedures relating to the art, science, and technology of lighting.
Munsell system: A widely used system for the designation and nomenclature of surface colors, developed by Albert F. Munsell of Boston, Massachusetts, and published as the Munsell Book of Color by Munsell Color Company, Baltimore, Maryland.
William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
rectilinear cottage: The rectilinear hipped cottage was especially popular in the plains states. In the decade following 1910 this square-looking version of the hipped cottage developed as an alternative to the Italianate and Queen Anne styles. Eschewing ornamental details, the rectilinear builder changed color at the upper level, changed materials, used trim boards or belt courses that framed the Walls into panels, and modified window placement. The rectilinear was a practical design that paralleled the development of the prairie-style design. The first ﬂoor of the rectilinear cottage contained social and service areas organized in an open plan, while the second floor had the usual array of bedrooms and a bath…
Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921
Zoning regulations: Legal restrictions which were intended in the first place to relieve street congestion by regulating the height of buildings. The New York Zoning Act of 1916, the first American act of the kind and the model for most later ones, determined the permissible height of walls next to the street by two factors, the type of district or zone and the width of the street. Additional stories above this had to be set back behind a line drawn from the center of the street through a point at the top of the front plane of the street wall, except that upon one quarter of the total lot area the building could rise to any height.
abram’s law: A law postulating that, with given concrete materials, curing, and testing conditions, the compressive strength is inversely proportional to the ratio of water to cement: developed by D.A. Abrams in 1919 from experiments at Lewis Institute in Chicago.
megalopolis: Very large urban region formed of a metropolis that has far outgrown itself and swallowed many towns and villages, or a series of metropolis that have joined up (e.g. the urban sprawl between Washington, DC and NYC).
Art Deco: An architectural style characterized by: an overall linear, angular, vertical appearance; stepped façade; extensive use of zig-zags, chevrons, lozenges, and volutes as decorative elements; and vertical projections above the roof line.
Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1921-1923
Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929
Radburn: Planning principle developed at Radburn, New Jersey, on lines suggested originally by Ebeneezer Howard and promoted by Mumford, Clarence Stein, et al. The proposed town (which was later transmogrified as a commuter-suburb) was designed (1929) to segregate pedestrians and traffic by having cul-de-sac feeder-roads and paths on bridges or in underpasses. This principle of segregation, known as Radburn planning, was also used in various New Towns created in Britain and on the Content after the 1939-45 war.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill: The world’s most successful firm of architects – see, in particular Fazlur Khan (1929-82).
perisphere: A spherical form used in connection with the trylon at the New York World’s Fair of 1939.
Herbert Clark Hoover, 1929-1933
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945
TAC: For The Architects’ Collaborative. Founded (1945) in the USA by Gropius: works included the Harvard Graduate Center, Cambridge, MA (1949).
Case Study houses: Campaign by the American journal Arts and Architecture started after the 1939-45 war in order to promote architecturally superior yet inexpensive dwellings, employing up-to-date building methods and modern materials…
Harvard architecture: Work of architects (e.g. E.L. Barnes, Philip Johnson, and Paul Rudolph) trained in Bauhaus principles by Gropius and Breuer at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (1940s and 1950s).
California School: Term used to group some American landscape architects, all working independently, but responding to Californian demands for gardens with amenities such as swimming-pools and terraces allowing the living-rooms to extend outwards…
Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953
urban renewal: Fashionable 1950s American euphemism for large-scale destructive redevelopment, often in association with central or municipal government, offering rich pickings for commercial architects…
futuristic homes: While tradition held through the 1950s and 1960s, innovative designers were always looking for new expressions. As the space age unfolded, visions of the ultra-modern future captured the American imagination, sometimes inspiring house designs that would have looked more at home on other planets than on Earth. New building methods made virtually any structural feat possible, and bizarre shapes were no problem. Most fell by the wayside, but the geodesic dome, patented by Buckminster Fuller in 1954, caught on in the 190s, and by the next decade more than 80,000 sets of plans for dome homes had been sold.
Dwight David Eisenhower, 1953-1961
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961-1963
theme-park: A 1960s term for a type of park devoted to a theme, idea, or ideas, which might have some historical, fictional, or other core. It was invented by the Disney organization at Anaheim, CA, where traditional American vernacular architecture and a main street of c. 1895 were recreated…
alternative architecture: Dwellings constructed with parts of motor-vehicles or other recycled material, sometimes based on geodesic principles, in the 1960s, especially in the USA. Some doubt if it is architecture.
Suppermannerism: American style of interior decoration dating from the 1960s employing odd optical tricks, synthetic materials that were either shiny and mirror-like, or transparent, and over-sized elements, so it was referred to as ‘mega-decoration’, and owed more to images in Superman comics than to Mannerism. 2. Term applied (1970s) to large Post-Modernist buildings.
Advocacy planning: Coined by the American planner Paul Davidoff, meaning architectural design and planning for powerless, inarticulate inner-city groups, notably when resisting destructive schemes by planning authorities, government agencies, etc. Among its early practitioners were ARCH (Architects; Renewal Committee in Harlem), founded by C. Richard Hatch.
Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969
Richard Milhous Nixon, 1969-1974
The Whites: See New York Five.
Architecture Machine: Title of book by the Greek-American Nicholas Negroponte in which artificial intelligence in architectural design was proposed, involving computers that would eventually function like colleagues.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977
James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981
Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989
EPCOT: A development in the USA of the amusement- or theme-park, including housing developments, water parks, a monorail system, a conservation area, artificial lakes, canals, streams, hotels, resorts, freeways, parking spaces, a wilderness area, ancient cities, modern shopping areas, and topiary whimsically clipped into Disney characters.
George Herbert Walker Bush, 1989-1993
Americans with Disabilities Act: An act of Congress that became law in 1992, establishing design standards and requirements for all buildings except single-family residences to ensure their accessibility by the physically disabled.
William Jefferson Clinton, 1993-2001
George Walker Bush, 2001-2009
Barack Hussein Obama, 2009-2017
Donald J. Trump, 2017-2021
Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., 2021-present
Also see Architecture index.
dumbbell tenement: A five- to seven-story multiple dwelling built in New York City prior to 1901; characterized by a long, narrow plan with an indentation on each side (forming a shaft for light and air); hence its resemblance in plan to a dumbbell.
bookstore: In the U.S., a place in which books are sold, usually at retail. In Great Britain, more commonly bookseller’s shop. 2. In a large library, the room or rooms in which books are kept in quantity, and so arranged as to be easily reached by the attendants.
back bar: In the United States, a counter or shelf extending along the wall of a barroom behind the bar. It is generally formed by a series of refrigerators, cupboards, and the like, on the top of which glasses, bottles, etc. are kept.
parquet circle: In the U.S., the space at the rear of the parquet of a theatre corresponding in extent approximately to the parterre, but arranged with seats, and considered inferior only to the parquet or orchestra.
path: Walk or track made for pedestrians connecting A to B. In a garden it is often unobtrusive, may afford views, and should aim to be as ‘natural’ as possible… 2. Pavement or footway by the side of a street, called sidewalk in the USA.
levee: Same as dike, the term being employed especially in the southern states of the U.S. as along the Mississippi. It is apparently the use, originating in the French city of New Orleans, of the French word level or levee, meaning raised or heaped up, as a bank of earth.
parkway: Scenic road pioneered in America, laid out in an area of preserved forest or a swathe of enhanced landscape. A precedent was Olmsted’s series of connected suburban public parks linked by road at Boston, MA…
government architect: One who has been employed on public work. Apparently, the term is retained after the work is done, and is employed as an honorary appellation, if not by the bearer of it, then by his publishers or those who may write of him, and serves as a means of giving professional rank. 2. In America, the supervising architect of the treasury department, in whose hands is the designing and supervising of the greater part of the buildings erected by the government of the United States, except in cases where, by general or special law, local architects are employed to carry out special buildings.
Eastern Stick: An architectural style characterized by: asymmetry and angularity, stickwork (i.e. narrow boards nailed to the exterior walls so as to repeat and reinforce the structural skeleton), verandas with diagonal braces, steeply pitched intersecting gable roofs, wood siding (usually board and batten or clapboard), and gable trim.
Eastlake: A style of architectural decoration characterized by extravagantly turned spindle work, porch posts, brackets, and railings. Named for an English furniture designer and architect, Charles Lock Eastlake, the style is really a result of American power tools embellishing his peculiar angled and notched furniture designs. Eastlake was not pleased that his name was attached to such excesses.
Exotic Revivals: Architectural styles borrowing elements from “exotic” cultures. The Egyptian Revival is probably the best known from this group. It is easily identified by massive columns that resemble a bundle of stalks tied together and bulging at the top. Moorish and Turkish architectural traditions also influenced design in America.
Italian Renaissance: An architectural style characterized by: stone construction, low-pitched hip (or sometimes flat) roof with widely overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets, ceramic tiled roof, round arches incorporated into doors and first story windows, and the frequent use of porticos or columned recessed entryways.
Spanish Eclectic style: Landmark houses in this style are rare outside of Florida and the Southwest where Spanish Colonial building occurred. However, in the related Mission style which preceded the Revival movement, there are examples throughout the country. Features include asymmetrical; low-pitched roof, usually with little or no overhang; red tile roof covering; one or more prominent arches placed above door or window, or beneath porch roof; and usually stucco wall surface.
Spanish-Pueblo Revival: A predominantly Southwestern architectural style characterized by: flat roofs with projecting rounded roof beams (called vegas); stucco covered battered walls with rounded corners; multi-paned, straight-headed windows set deeply into walls; and stepped or terraced upper stories.
spring house: A building erected over a natural spring to protect it from injury or impurities; sometimes decorative, or large enough to contain fixed seats; or used as a place for cooling milk, or the like, in the cold water, as frequently on American farms, where the house is roughly built of wood.
rancho: In the western United States, a tract of grazing land, including also the house upon it; also an ordinary farm not devoted to stock raising. The forms rancho and rancheria have also been used. See ranch.
corn crib: In the U.S., a building for the storage of corn, and the like. In its characteristic form, its sides are constructed of slats, set with open spaces between for the circulation of air to dry the corn; and it is raised above the ground on posts with projecting caps of sheet metal to guard against the entrance of vermin. Commonly, the sides slope outward toward the top, as some protection against the weather.
tripartite house: One of the earliest Germanic building types in Pennsylvania was the tripartite house, which reflected the Old World tradition of combining a house, a threshing area, and a stable under the same roof.
garden-cemetery: Known in the USA as rural cemetery, it combined the landscaped park with the cemetery, enhancing Nature with Art (an idea promoted by Loudon), and was the precursor in America of the public park.
fire house: In the U.S., in general, any building for the keeping of the fire-extinguishing apparatus of a municipal fire department. A popular, but not specific term. 2. Same as house place; in allusion to the fact that here alone was a fireplace in early times.
allowable stress: The maximum unit stress permitted for a material in the design of a structural member, usually a fraction of the material’s elastic limit, yield strength, or ultimate strength. The allowable stresses for various materials are specified by building codes, engineering societies, and trade associations, based on specifications and methods of testing established by the American Society for Testing and Materials. Also called allowable unit stress, working stress.
allowable unit stress: The maximum unit stress permitted for a material in the design of a structural member, usually a fraction of the material’s elastic limit, yield strength, or ultimate strength. The allowable stresses for various materials are specified by building codes, engineering societies, and trade associations, based on specifications and methods of testing established by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
working stress: The maximum unit stress permitted for a material in the design of a structural member, usually a fraction of the material’s elastic limit, yield strength, or ultimate strength. The allowable stresses for various materials are specified by building codes, engineering societies, and trade associations, based on specifications and methods of testing established by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
S-shape: A hot-rolled structural steel section having an I-shape with sloped inner flange surfaces, designated by the prefix S followed by the size and weight of the member. Also called American standard beam.
Labradorite: Labrador rock; a variety of feldspar possessing a beautiful bluish iridescence. Little used in America, but extensively used by the Russians. Found in Labrador and Russia, and Fingspong, Sweden. A less iridescent variety is quarried under the name of ausable granite near Keeseville, New York.
Mt. Airy granite: Trade name for a medium-grain even-textured, light gray to nearly white biotite granite quarried at Mt. Airy, North Carolina. There is also a White Mt. Airy, very light gray with predominant colors of black and white and a few faint pink quartz crystals scattered through it; the stone is of medium grain.
Onondaga limestone: A common sedimentary rock consisting mostly of calcium carbonate, used as a building stone and in the manufacture of lime, carbon dioxide, and cement. Common from eastern Finger Lakes region of west-central New York.
Georgia marble: A group name for sparkling, crystalline varieties with white or light gray grounds, although some – such as Mezzotint and Creole – have heavy black clouding as a distinguishing characteristic. Georgia also produces Etowah Pink, a large-grained marble ranging from old rose to deep pink, with greenish black and greenish gray veinings.
Tenessee marble: A group name for a great variety of marbles of excellent quality. Ground tones vary from light warm gray and shades of pink and brownish pink to dark chocolate. All Tennessee marbles have more or less of a characteristic pinkish hue, although there are a black, a reddish green, and a buff marble as well. Traces of the marine animals whose remains were the raw materials of which it was made can often be discerned. Some varieties are: Antique Rose, Bond Pink, Bond Dark Cedar, Edward Pink, Craig Pink, Ellis Pink, Ross Pink, Acme Pink, Lawson Gray, Champion Pink, d’Or Fossile, Phantasia Rose, Phantasia Vert, Rochelle, and Imperial Black.
Vermont marble: Group name for a wide variety quarried in Vermont, many of them white or with a ground of white, although there may be considerable veining and clouding. Some are practically pure white. Vermont produces a very fine variety of verd antique, which, though classed as a marble, is a rock constituted largely of serpentine. Of many richly colorful Vermont marbles suitable for highly decorative work, a few are Best Light Cloud, Florence, Jasper, Light Vein, Metawee, Neshobe Gray, Oriental, Radio Black, Striped Brocadillo, Vermont Pavonazzo, Westland Cippolino, and Westland Green Veined Cream.
Kingwood stone: Trade name for a hard West Virginia quartzite, medium to coarse in grain and varying from antique yellow and light buff to a rather purplish buff; ground mass is white quartz, and color is caused by innumerable brown spots of completely iodized iron; used for heavy masonry.
Berea sandstone: A fine-grain Ohio sandstone, quarried at Amherst, Ohio, of very light buff, gray, or mixtures of gray and buff; evenly bedded, even texture, easily carved. There is also a Berea Spiderweb, gray with irregular, streaked brownish lines.
Medina sandstone : A sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation and compaction of sand and held together by a natural cement, such as silica. From Medina, a town in western New York. Quarries are no longer operational.
ash: Hardwoods of the eastern U.S.A., ranking high in weight, strength, resistance to shock and wear, and ability to hold a formed shape; used in manufacture of doors and other interior woodwork; heartwood warm brown, sapwood white.
beech: American, a hard, stiff, strong hardwood with reddish brown heartwood and white sapwood; plentiful throughout eastern U.S.A.; low in resistance to decay; difficult to season because of shrinkage and tendency to warp.
Port Orford white cedar: A wood of northern California and southern Oregon; moderately light, of moderate strength, with a fine and uniform texture; used for Venetian blinds, interior finish, and furniture.
Spanish cedar: Woods from Central America, marketed under a wide variety of names; they belong to the mahogany family but are lighter in weight and color; fragrant and formerly found in cigar boxes; also used in furniture and veneer.
cypress: A wood found in the low swamplands in southeastern USA and in the Mississippi River valley. The heartwood is particularly resistant to decay, so that the wood is used for exterior woodwork and work in contact with the ground.
gradestamp: A trademark of the American Plywood Association (APA), stamped on the back of a structural wood panel product to identify the panel grade, thickness, span rating, exposure durability classification, mill number, and National Research Board (NRB) report number.
red gum: Sweet gum, a wood from the moist lands of the lower Ohio and Mississippi basins, the southern coasts of the U.S.A., and Mexico and Central America; reddish brown heartwood and pinkish white sapwood.
pecans: Natives of the U.S.A. with heartwood reddish brown in color, with darker brown stripes, and sapwood varying from pale red to white; can be stained and finished to resemble walnut; used for interior finish, furniture, and veneer.
Eastern hemlock: A wood from the Lake States and eastern mountain country of the U.S.A.; used chiefly for framing, sheathing, roofing, and sub-flooring; more brittle and liable to splinter than spruce.
western larch: A native of Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and southeastern Canada, the wood of which splits easily, is heavy, strong, and stiff; it is frequently logged with Douglas fir and sold as larch fir.
eastern white pine: The first lumber used by the early settlers in America; soft, fine-textured, easily worked; heartwood endures under exposure; now largely knotty second growth and replaced by western white pine under the names of California and Idaho pine.
American sycamore: Also called buttonwood or American plane tree; a tree of southern Ontario and the eastern U.S.A., south to Florida and Texas, the hard, reddish brown wood of which develops, in veneer, small flakes more numerous than in quartered oak.
American black walnut: A hard, dark brown wood used chiefly for furniture and interior trim. It is the traditional material for gunstocks and is available for other architectural uses in limited supply.
bracket capital: A heavy, squared timber making a tee on top of a timber post extending a foot or so under the girder which it supports. Found in the Spanish Southwest where they were often embellished with decorative curves.
hob grate: A cast-iron grate in which the fire basket is supported off the ground, between two flat hobs. The flat front is usually cast with shallowed ornament or reeding. Termed a Bath stove in the United States.
comfort envelope: The range of dry-bulb temperature, relative humidity, mean radiant temperature, and air movement judged to be comfortable by a majority of Americans and Canadians tested. This comfort zone varies with climate, the season of the year, the type of clothing worn, and the activity level of the individual. Also called comfort envelope.
comfort zone: The range of dry-bulb temperature, relative humidity, mean radiant temperature, and air movement judged to be comfortable by a majority of Americans and Canadians tested. This comfort zone varies with climate, the season of the year, the type of clothing worn, and the activity level of the individual. Also called comfort envelope.
L: A piece of pipe or a bar making a right angle with another. 2. A subordinate part of a building projecting from the main structure at right angles, giving to the whole the shape of the letter L. Hence, in local U.S. usage, any small extension or wing, however situated.
rag: Piece of hard, coarse-textured stone, capable of being broken into thick, flattish pieces, the commonest types being Kentish rag (tough, hard limestone, readily broken into usable pieces), Rowley rag (a basaltic stone from Staffordshire), and other stones, notably in the USA. Rag-stones are not laid in regular courses, and mostly used as facings to brick or other types of wall. Rag-stone’s appearance is net like, formed of a pattern of approximate polygons, with the mortar-joints coarse (rough-picked) or fine (close-picked)… Rag is also used in rubble walls.
adobe mortar: A soft mixture of adobe clay and water used as a mortar in the Southwestern United States and in Spanish America, especially in laying adobe brick. It was the only kind of mortar used in American-Indian architecture, north of Mexico.
Austin stone: Austin Stone is named after the stone quarries in Austin, Texas. The stone may be set in orderly rows or irregular patterns. On newer buildings, the “Austin Stone” is often a man-made material manufactured from Portland cement, lightweight natural aggregates and iron oxide pigments. Both natural and man-made Austin Stone are durable and attractive choices for exterior siding.
blind adjuster: In the U.S., an apparatus for holding window shutters in place at a required angle; especially for holding them bowed or nearly shut. 2. Same as Blank, as in the compound terms Blind Arch; Blind Window.
louver: In American architecture, a louver is one of a series of overlapping boards or narrow panes of glass used to fill a window opening, keeping out rain while allowing ventilation. 2. A lantern or turret on the roof of a medieval building having slatted apertures for the escape of smoke and admission of air.
wood shingles: A consistently popular roofing material in the United States, wood shingles take the form of thin, long pieces of wood that taper from one end to the other. Singles, up until about 1850, were cut by hand; after this date sawing became the dominant means of manufacture. Wood shingles come dimensioned or in random widths, plain or end-modified; length is most often 16, 18, or 24 inches.
transom: In North America a transom is generally the light above the doorway, also called a fanlight. In Europe, a transom is the horizontal structural member that separates the door from the window above it.
ground story: That story of a building the floor of which is nearly on a level with the surrounding surface of the ground. The term should be limited to such a story when the floor is not more than two or three steps above or below the sidewalk in a city, or the courtyard, greensward, or the like, nearest approaching it, in the country. Thus, in the case of a house with a high stoop, as in many American cities where the principal floor is seven feet above the sidewalk, and the floor of the basement story is five feet below it, there is properly no ground story.
French flats: At first New York termed apartment houses French flats, for in Edith Wharton’s words in The Age of Innocence, “that was how women with lovers lived in the wicked old societies in apartments with all the rooms on one floor.”
hipped bungalow: The hipped bungalow is the most classical of bungalow designs. The low hip roof serves as a pediment for three or four columns that carry a restrained entablature. This temple-front building is relieved by a hipped dormer, an open porch rail, and pedestals for the columns. The structure is low to the ground and utilizes the full width of the facade for a porch. The bungalow is built with wood-frame construction, and clapboard cladding is most common. Other cladding materials include stucco, hollow concrete tile, cement block, and shingle in rustic or Craftsman-style bungalows…
California cottage: A cottage with a central plan, a tall center, asymmetrical massing, patterned textures on exterior surfaces, projecting gables and bay, interconnected interior and exterior spaces, and either a steep roof on the centripetal types or a low, close-to-the ground roof in the centrifugal types. Common in the southwest plains, on the prairies, and in border states of the south.
plains cottage: Some vernacular house types have not been formally identified as having a particular style. One of these is the plains cottage, the development period of which coincides with the growth of Queen Anne, Eastlake, and shingle-style cottages. The plains cottage is an extant house type that sits on railroad lots in towns between the Mississippi River and the west slope of the Rocky Mountains. It was also built in the south; in Biloxi, Mississippi, it is referred to as a “bayed cottage.”…
suburban cottage: The suburban cottage takes is name from its design and location. Throughout a forty-year period, this cottage evolved from a narrow city cottage into a wide-bodied colonial cottage with a large lot or prominent siting. The house remained rectangular on plan and in shape and carried its full two-and-a-half-story height throughout its development. In the 1880s the structure presented its straight gable roof to the street with moldings that spanned the gable and turned it into a pediment. The facade carried a bay window on one or both stories, as well as on a side elevation. The entrance porch was small, with a modest but ornamented hood over the entrance. Queen Anne detailing was present on the porch in the form of turned posts and brackets, and in the gable. Often there were two kinds of cladding, or changes in cladding pattern…
hall-and-chamber house: A two-room plan common in the English colonies. The hall served as a general reception, entertaining, and work space while the parlor was usually for sleeping, although there were many variations.
Single House: In Charleston, South Carolina, a long, two- or three-story, one-room-deep house with a central stair, sited perpendicular to the street. It is entered at midpoint, usually along a full-length porch or piazza.