Styles That Reached Their Zenith in 1820-1860
• Greek Revival, The
• Egyptian Revival, The
• Early Gothic Revival, The
• Romanesque Revival, The
• Italian Villa Style, The
• Renaissance Revival: The Romano-Tuscan Mode, The
• Renaissance Revival: The North Italian Mode, The
• Octagon Mode, The
Styles That Reached Their Zenith in 1860-1890
• High Victorian Gotic
• High Victorian Italianate
• Second Empire Style, The
• Stick Style, The
• Queen Anne Style, The
• Eastlake Style, The
• Shingle Style, The
• Richardsonian Romanesque
Styles That Reached Their Zenith in 1890-1915
• Beaux-Arts Classicism
• Second Renaissance Revival, The
• Georgian Revival, The
• Neo-Classsical Revival, The
• Late Gothic Revival, The
• Jacobethan Revival, The
• Commercial Style, The
• Prairie Style, The
• Western Stick Style, The
• Mission Style, The
Acanthus A genus of thistlelike plants whose leaves were imitated in the ornament of the Corinthian capital.
Adobe Sun-dried brick (Spanish). In American usage the word also de¬notes a house built of the material.
Aisle In a church, the enclosed space on either side of the nave.
Anta A square pier finishing off the end of a wall in Greek temple arch¬itecture. Columns are said to be “in antis” when they stand within a porch between antae.
Anthemion A Greek architectural ornament in the form of a stylized representation of the flower of the honey-suckle.
Arcaded corbel table A row of corbels linked by arches.
Architrave The lowest part of an entablature. It is sometimes used by itself, for example, as an enframement around a window.
Astylar Without columns or pilasters.
Baroque architecture An architecture that originated in Rome at the beginning of the seventeenth century and spread from there over Europe and to the European colonies in the New World. Classical (Roman) forms are used, as in Renaissance architecture; generally speaking, Baroque architecture is more freely modeled than Renaissance architecture and exploits effects of light and shade in ways that the latter does not. There are many national and regional varieties of Baroque, some of which have their own names (such as Churriguerresque). It made way for Neo-Classical architecture in the second half of the eighteenth century.
Basilican Of a church, having an oblong nave flanked by lower aisles, with clerestory windows in the nave walls above the aisle roofs.
Battered Of walls, having faces that slope inward toward the top. Belvedere A tower or turret built for the sake of the view.
Buttress A short section of wall built at right angles to one of the main outer walls of a building to help it resist lateral forces.
Canales Projecting gutters to throw the rain water off a roof and dear of the walls. (Spanish)
Cantilever A beam or bracket projecting from a wall or frame and stabilized by weight on its inner end.
Capital the uppermost part, or head, of a column or pilaster. Casement A hinged window frame that opens horizontally like a door.
Caulicolus An ornament on the capital of the Corinthian order in the form of a curled fern shoot. (Latin for “little stalk.”)
Chancel That part of a church which is reserved for the clergy and choir.
Chicago window An oblong window with a wide central light contain¬ing a fixed pane of plate glass flanked by narrower lights with sashes. Churrigueresque A type of Baroque, characterized by very elaborate ornament, peculiar to Spain and Spanish America. Churriguerra was a Spanish architect who did not, as it happens, originate the style. But the term has been in use for a long time and is likely to continue in use un¬til somebody offers an unexceptionable alternative.
Classical architecture The architecture of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and architecture using forms derived from Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman architecture.
Clerestory The nave wall pierced with windows above the aisle roofs of a church.
Colossal order An order with columns or pilasters that run up through more than one story of the building.
Column A vertical support of round section. In classical architecture the column has three parts, base, shaft, and capital; the Greek Doric column is exceptional in that it has no base.
Composite order A classical order with capitals in which the volutes of the Ionic are combined with the acanthus foliage of the Corinthian. Coping The top course of a wall.
Corbel A small projection built out from a wall to support the eaves of a roof or some other feature.
Corinthian order A classical order distinguished by the capitals, which are ornamented with acanthus leaves and caulicoli.
Cornice The uppermost, projecting part of an entablature, or a feature resembling it.
Coupled columns Columns that stand in pairs.
Course A horizontal row of stones or bricks in a wall. Cupola A small domed structure rising from a roof or tower. Curb A molded or otherwise ornamented edging along the top of the lower slopes of a gambrel or mansard roof.
Curtain wall An external wall for protection and privacy only, not form¬ing part of the structure of the building.
Doric order A classical order most readily distinguished by its simple, unornamented capitals and the tablets with vertical grooving, called triglyphs, set at intervals in the frieze.
Dormer window An upright window lighting the space in a roof. When it is in the same plane as the wall, it is called a wall dormer, when it rises from the slope of the roof, a roof dormer.
Entablature The horizontal part of a classical order, above the columns or pilasters. It always has three parts, the lowest being called the archi¬trave, the middle one the frieze, and the top one the cornice; the design varies in detail according to the order being used.
Fanlight A semicircular or semielliptical window above a door. Flamboyant style The last style in French Gothic architecture, charac¬terized by flamelike curves in tracery and moldings.
Fleche ,4 small spire of wood and lead. (French: arrow.) Fluting Vertical grooving, as on a Greek column,
Flying buttress A buttress of arched form, typically carrying lateral thrust from the wall of the nave across the aisle of a Gothic church. Formwork A structure of wood (recently, sometimes of other materials) used to mold the surfaces of a concrete structure to the required shape and removed after the concrete has dried out.
Frame building A building in which the roof, walls, and floors are sup¬ported on a structural frame of wood, metal, or reinforced concrete. Frieze The middle part of an entablature.
Gable The triangular upper part of a wall under the end of a ridged roof, or a wall rising above the end of a ridged roof.
Gablet A small gable, for example, over a dormer window. Galerie The French name for a raised veranda.
Gambrel roof A root with two slopes of different pitch on either side of the ridge.
Georgian Colonial architecture The architecture of the British colonies in North America from 1714 to 1776.
Gingerbread Pierced curvilinear ornament, executed with the jig saw or scroll saw, under the eaves of roofs. So called after the sugar frosting on German gingerbread houses.
Gorge and roll cornice A projection along the top of a wall consisting of a concave upper part and a thick molding or rounded section below, much employed in Egyptian architecture.
Gothic architecture The style of architecture, characterized by the use of the pointed arch, that arose in France a little before the middle of the twelfth century, spread to the rest of Western Europe during the next hundred years, and yielded to the Renaissance in Italy in the fifteenth century, elsewhere early in the sixteenth.
Greek fret A running ornament resembling a series of identical recti¬linear labyrinths or mazes.
Half timbering A technique of wooden-frame construction in which the members are exposed on the outside of the wall.
Hipped roof A roof with slopes on all four sides. The hips are the lines of meeting of the slopes at the corners.
Impost The top of any vertical feature supporting an arch. In antis See anta.
Ionic order A classical order distinguished by the form of the capital, with a spiral scroll, called a volute, on either side.
Jetty In framed buildings, an upper floor that projects a fool or two in front of the wall of the story below.
Lancet window A tall, narrow, pointed-arched window without tracery. A feature of Gothic architecture.
Light A section of a window.
Lintel A beam over an opening in a wall or over tvvo or more pillars or posts.
Loggia The Italian for veranda.
Mansard roof A roof with two slopes to all four sides, the lower one being much steeper than the upper. It is named for the French seven¬teenth-century architect Francois Mansart.
Molding A projecting strip of curvilinear profile projecting from a sur¬face of a building, or the curvilinear finishing of the edge of two meet¬ing surfaces.
Mullion A vertical divider in a window.
Nave That part of a church in which the congregation (as distinct from the clergy) worships.
Neo-Classical architecture The architecture that followed Baroque archi-tecture in the second half of the eighteenth century and prevailed until the middle of the nineteenth. It is distinguished from Baroque by its greater simplicity, its closer imitation of ancient classical models, and in many cases by the use of Greek forms.
Neo-Grec A French architectural style of the mid-nineteenth century, characterized by planar wall effects and simplified Greek and Roman detail, with moldings of flattened profile and incised linear ornament.
Order The basic structural system of the Greek temple, consisting of columns with an entablature resting on them. The Greeks had three orders, the Doric, the Ionic, and the Corinthian; the Romans adopted the Greek orders, adding them to their own Tuscan; the Renaissance adopted the Roman orders and added the Composite. Each order had its own recognized proportions as well as its own set of ornamental features.
Oriel window A bay window, especially one projecting from an upper story.
Palladianism A style of architecture modeled on the work of the North Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1518-1580). It was the dominant style in England from c. 1720 to c. 1760.
Palladian window A window with an arched central light and lower side lights with entablatures over them. It is also called a Venetian window. Patera A small, flatfish, circular or oval ornament employed in classical architecture.
Patio The courtyard of a Spanish house.
Pediment The gable end of the roof of a Greek or Roman temple, or a feature resembling it in classical architecture.
Pent roof An eaveslike feature projecting from a wall to throw off rain and snow.
Pergola A structure of posts or piers carrying beams and trelliswork for climbing plants.
Peripteral Having columns all around.
Perpendicular style The last style in English Gothic architecture, char¬acterized by tracery in which the pattern is formed by multiplying the mullions in the upper part of the window and by a general tendency to stress vertical moldings.
Piazza The term used for a veranda generally in the colonial period, and in the South to this day. In Italy a piazza is an open space in a town, a square. When Inigo Jones planned the great square in Covent Garden, London, in 1631, he called it Covent Garden Piazza, to show off his Italian. To his fellow Londoners the arcaded walks (loggie, as )ones might have called them) surrounding the square seemed the most novel thing in the design. So they assumed that they were what the architect must have been referring to, and piazza got its new, Anglo-American meaning.
Picturesque, the A philosophy of landscape design and architecture ac¬cording to which landscapes and buildings should exhibit qualities seen in, and should harmonize with each other as in, the pictures of the most admired landscape painters. It originated in England in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.
Pier (1) A Stout pillar or column. (2) A vertical member in a metal or concrete building frame,
Pilaster A flat-faced representation of a column, in relief as it were, against a wall.
Pillar An upright support of rectangular horizontal section.
Pinnacle A vertical pointed feature, of stone or brick, employed to weight a buttress or a wall in Gothic architecture.
Pitch The degree of slope of a roof.
Plateresque A Spanish (and Mexican) type of Renaissance architecture characterized by ornament resembling silverwork (plateria).
Portal In Spanish, a porch or veranda. Most often used in the plural, portales.
Portico A large porch having a roof, often with a pediment, supported by columns or pillars.
Purlin Part of a wooden roof frame, parallel with the ridge and con¬necting the rafters.
Quoin An outside corner of a building, or one of the stones or bricks forming an outside corner.
Rafter Part of a wooden roof frame, sloping down from the ridge to the eaves and establishing the pitch.
Reeding Vertical moldings resembling reed thatch, the convex counter¬part of fluting as it were.
Reja A window grille or lattice. (Spanish).
Renaissance architecture A style of architecture characterized by the use of forms derived from Ancient Roman architecture that began in Florence around 1=120, was taken up in other parts of Italy later in the fifteenth century, and in the rest of Western Europe in the sixteenth. The period 1420-1500 is called the Early Renaissance, 1500-1520 the High Renaissance, 1520-1600 the Late Renaissance or Mannerist Period. In many of the older histories of architecture (and some quite recent ones), all architecture from 1420 down to about 1750 is called “Renaissance.” However, the accepted term for the architecture of 1600-1750 is now Baroque.
Ribbed vault A vault with arches (ribs) where the surfaces meet at an angle.
Ridge The horizontal line of meeting of the upper slopes of a roof. Riser The vertical part of a step.
Rococo The last phase of Baroque architecture, characterized by double-curved forms and a shell-like type of ornament.
Romanesque architecture The style of architecture that prevailed in Western Europe from around A.D.1000 until the coming of Gothic archi¬tecture-from c. 1140 to c. 1200, according to the region.
Rubble Stones that have not been shaped or at most have been shaped by fracture (not cut). In walls of coursed rubble the stones are of ap¬proximately the same size and shape and the courses are clearly defined; in random rubble the stones are of varying size and shape and the pat¬tern formed by them is quite irregular.
Rustication Rough-surfaced stonework.
Sash A window frame that opens by sliding up or down.
Scantling (1) A piece of wood cut to a certain size. (2) The size to which a piece of wood is cut.
Shuttering Wooden boards between which concrete is poured in the construction of a concrete wall or pier and which are removed after the concrete has dried out.
Spandrel In a frame building, the wall immediately below an upper-story window.
Steeple The main vertical feature of a church, comprising both the tower and the spire or other superstructure.
Stringcourse A projecting course (sometimes two or three courses) forming a narrow horizontal strip across the wall of a building.
Syrian arch A type of semicircular arch that has very low supports, with the result that the distance from the impost to the level of the crown of the arch is greater than the height of the impost from the ground. It is so called because it was used in the Early Christian churches of Syria, in the fifth and sixth centuries.
Tabernacle frame An enframement for a doorway or window consisting of two columns or pilasters with an entablature and pediment above.
Trabeated Constructed with beams or lintels.
Tracery Ornamental openwork of stone in the upper part of a Gothic window. In Gothic Revival buildings it is sometimes of wood or of iron.
Transom A horizontal divider in a window.
Tuscan order A classical order most readily distinguishable by its simplicity. The columns are never fluted, the capitals are unornamented, and the frieze lacks the triglyphs that are part of the Doric order.
Vault A stone, brick, or concrete roof built on the arch principle, or an imitation of such in wood or plaster.
Venetian window See Palladian window.
Veranda A space alongside a house sheltered by a roof supported by posts, pillars, columns or arches. An earlier name for it in America was piazza. The French colonists called it a galerie, the Dutch a stoep (Americanized as stoop), the Spanish a portal; in Italy it is a loggia. The term porch is best retained (as in this book) for a shelter over a door. Veranda comes from the Portuguese varanda and was first used by the British in India.
Viga Beam (Spanish). Volute See Ionic order. Voussoir A wedge-shaped stone or brick in an arch.
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.
Whiffen, Marcus. American Architecture Since 1780: A Guide to the Styles. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1996.