Sign Up

Sign Up to The Constructor to ask questions, answer questions, write articles, and connect with other people. VIP members get additional benefits.

Sign In

Login to The Constructor to ask questions, answer people’s questions, write articles & connect with other people. VIP members get additional benefits.

Free Signup or Login to continue Reading...

Forgot Password

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email.

Sorry, you do not have permission to ask a question, You must login to ask question. Become VIP Member

Free Signup or Login to continue Reading...

Get More Features, Sign Up Now. Become VIP Member

Print, PDF & Email

The following are the words commonly used by Architects in their works and drawings. Understanding of these words is essential for construction professionals.

Architecture Dictionary

ABATEMENT

The wastage of wood when lumber is sawed or planed to size.

ABUTMENT

A masonry mass (or the like) receives the thrust of an arch, vault, or strut.

ADDENDUM

A supplement to bidding documents issued before submitting bids to clarify, correct, or adding to the specifications previously published.

ALCOVE

A small recessed space opening directly into a larger room.

AMBULATORY

A passageway around the apse of a church.

APPROVED EQUAL

Material, equipment, or method proposed by the contractor and approved by the architect for incorporation in or use in work as equivalent in essential attributes to the material, equipment, or process specified in the contract document.

APSE

A semicircular or semipolygonal space usually in a church terminating an axis and intended to house an altar.

ARBOR

A light open structure of trees or shrubs closely planted either twined together or self-supporting on a light lattice.

ARCADE

A line of counter thrusting arches raised on columns or piers.

ARCHITECT

A designation reserved, usually by law, for a person or organization professionally qualified and duly licensed to perform architectural services.

ARCHITRAVE

A horizontal beam or lintel rests on columns or piers, or the lowest portion of an entablature, or a decorative molding around a door, a window, or an arch.

ARCHIVOLT

One of several parallel curved, often decorated, moldings on the inside of an arched opening; a curved architrave.

ASHLAR

Stone that has been cut square and dressed.

ATRIUM

In classical architecture, an interior courtyard that is open to the weather. In contemporary architecture, a significant interior space, often skylighted, is used for circulation.

BALUSTRADE

An entire railing system including top rail and its balusters, and sometimes a bottom rail.

BALUSTER

One of several short vertical members often circular in the section to support a stair handrail or a coping.

BASILICA

A Roman hall of justice, typically with a high central space lit by a clerestory and lower aisles all around it.

BATTEN

A narrow strip of wood applied to cover a joint along the edges of two parallel boards in the same plane.

BID

An offer to perform the work described in a contract at a specified cost.

BREEZEWAY

A covered passageway, open to the outdoors, connecting two parts of a building or two buildings.

BUILDING CODES

Regulations, ordinances, or statutory requirements of a government unit relating to building construction and occupancy, generally adopted and administered to protect public health, safety, and welfare.

CAMBER

A slight convex curvature is built into a truss or beam to compensate for any anticipated deflection so that it will have no sag when under load.

CANTILEVER

A structural member which projects beyond its supporting wall or column.

CANTON

A corner of a building decorated with a projecting masonry course, a pilaster, or a similar feature.

CATHEDRA

The bishop’s throne, set at the end of the apse in early Christian churches.

CAVETTO

A hollow member or round concave molding containing at least the quadrant of a circle used in cornices.

CELLA

The sanctuary of a classical temple, containing the cult statue of the god.

CERTIFICATION

A declaration in writing that a particular product or service complies with a specification or stated criterion.

CHANGE ORDER

An amendment to the construction contract signed by the owner, architect, and contractor that authorizes a change in the work or an adjustment in the contract sum or the contract time.

Construction Budget: The sum established by the owner as available for construction of the project, including contingencies for bidding to contractors and changes during construction.

CLERESTORY

An upper zone of a wall pierced with windows that admit light to the center of a lofty room.

CLOISTER

A covered walk surrounding a court, usually linking a church to other buildings of a monastery.

CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

Drawings and specifications created by an architect that outlined in detail requirements for the construction of the project.

CORBEL

In masonry, a projection or one of a series of forecasts each stepped progressively farther forward with height.

CORNICE

Any molded projection which crowns or finishes the part which it is affixed.

CRIPPLE

In a building frame, a structural element is shorter than usual, as a stud above a door opening or below a windowsill.

DENTIL

A band of small, square, toothlike blocks utilized in an ornamental manner.

DERRICK

A hoisting machine for heavy loads usually has a vertical mast and a horizontal or sloping boom whose movement is controlled by wire rope.

DESIGN/BUILD

A method of project delivery in which the owner contracts directly with a single entity responsible for both design and construction services for a construction project.

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

The architect prepares more detailed drawings and finalizes the design plans, showing correct sizes and shapes for rooms. Also included is an outline of the construction specifications, listing the significant materials to be used.

DORMER

A structure projecting from a sloping roof usually housing a window or ventilating louver.

DOVETAIL

A splayed tenon, shaped like a dove’s tail, broader at its end than at its base.

DRESSED

Descriptive of brick, lumber, or stone prepared, shaped, or finished by cutting, planing, rubbing, or sanding one or more surfaces.

EASEMENT

A right to accommodation in lands owned by another, such as the right of way or free access to light or air.

ENTABLATURE

In classical architecture, the elaborated beam member carried by the columns.

EURYTHMY

Harmony, orderliness, and elegance of proportions.

FASCIA

Any flat horizontal member or molding with little projection.

FENESTRATION

The arrangement and design of windows in a building.

FORMWORK

A temporary construction to contain web concrete in the required shape while cast and setting.

GIRANDOLE

A branched light holder, either standing on a base or projecting from a wall.

GROIN

The ridge, edge, or curved line formed by the intersection of the surfaces of two intersecting vaults.

GROTTO

A natural or artificial cave, often decorated with shells or stones and incorporating waterfalls or fountains.

HAUNCH

The middle part between the crown and the springing of an arch.

HEPTASTYLE

A portico having seven columns at one or both ends.

HIERON

The sacred enclosure of a temple or shrine.

HIP

The external angle at the junction of two sloping roofs or sides of a roof.

HYPOTHYRUM

A frieze and cornice arranged and decorated in various ways for the lintel of a door.

ILLUMINANCE

The luminous flux density incident on a surface, i.e., the luminous flux per unit area.

JALOUSIE

A shutter or blind with fixed or adjustable slats which exclude rain and provide ventilation, shade, and visual privacy.

KEYSTONE

In masonry, the central often embellished voussoir of an arch.

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS

The architect calculates expected future operating, maintenance, and replacement costs of desired designs and features to assist homeowners in developing a realistic design and budget estimate.

LINTEL

A horizontal structural member over an opening that carries the weight of the wall above it.

LOGGIA

An arcaded or colonnaded structure, open on one or more sides, sometimes with an upper level.

LUNETTE

A crescent-shaped or semicircular area on a wall or vaulted ceiling framed by an arch or vault.

MASTERSPEC

A proprietary master specification for the construction industry developed by the AIA.

MEGALITHIC

Structure built of unusually large stones.

MEZZANINE

A low ceilinged story or extensive balcony, usually constructed above the ground floor.

MORTISE

A hole, cavity, notch, slot, or recess cut into timber or another material usually receive a tenon.

NAVE

The middle aisle of a church.

NICHE

A recess in a wall usually contain a sculpture or an urn.

OBELISK

A massive, four-sided stone shaft tapering to a pyramidal tip.

ORTHOSTYLE

A colonnade in a straight line.

PAGODA

A multistoried shrine-like tower, originally a Buddhist monument crowned by a stupa.

PARAPET

A low guarding wall at any point of a sudden drop, as at the edge of a terrace, roof, or balcony.

PEDIMENT

In classical architecture, the triangular gable end of the roof above the horizontal cornice.

PERGOLA

A garden structure with an open wooden-framed roof, often latticed, supported by regularly spaced posts or columns.

PERIPTERAL

Surrounded by a single row of columns.

PIAZZA

A public open space or square surrounded by buildings.

PROGRAMMING

The architect and homeowner first discuss the goals, needs, and function of the project, design expectations and available budget, applicable building code, and zoning regulations. The architect prepares a written statement setting forth design objectives, constraints, and criteria for a project, including special requirements and systems and site requirements.

PROJECT BUDGET

The sum established by the owner as available for the entire project, including the construction budget, land costs, costs of furniture, furnishings, and equipment; financing costs; compensation for professional services; the price of owner-furnished goods and services; contingency allowance; and similar established or estimated costs.

PROSCENIUM

In a theater, the part of the stage which lies between the curtains and the orchestra.

QUADRIPARTITE

Divided by the system of construction employed, into four compartments, like a vault.

REGULATION

Any rule prescribing permitted or forbidden conduct, whether found in legislation or the actions of an administrative agency.

RELIEF

Carving, chasing, or embossing raised above a background plane.

RETEMPERING

The addition of water and remixing of concrete or mortar which started to stiffen.

SCALLOP

One of a continuous series of curves resembling segments of a circle used as a decorative element.

SCHEMATIC DESIGN

The architect consults with the owner to determine the requirements of the project. It prepares schematic studies consisting of drawings and other documents illustrating the scale and relationships of the project components for approval by the owner. The architect also submits to the owner a preliminary estimate of construction cost based on current area, volume, or other unit costs.

SCUPPER

An opening in a wall or parapet that allows water to drain from a roof.

SERVICE CONNECTION

An electrical connector that attaches the utility company’s conductors to the customer’s wiring.

SERVICE DROP

The portion of service conductors between the last pole of the utility supply and the junction with service entrance conductors of the building supplied.

SPECIFICATIONS

A part of the construction documents contained in the project manual consisting of written requirements for materials, equipment, construction systems, standards, and workmanship.

SQUARE FOOTAGE

Can be calculated as both gross and net square footage. No uniform standard for computing residential square footage yet exists. Architects, builders, and realtors each measure square footage differently. Square footage is not always an indication of the livable space available in a structure. Buyers are encouraged to ask for an explanation of which spaces were included in the square footage calculation.

STUCCO

An exterior finish usually textured composed of portland cement, lime, and sand mixed with water.

TABERNACLE

A decorative niche often topped with a canopy and housing a statue.

TENON

The projecting end of a piece of wood, or other material, which is reduced in cross-section, so that it may be inserted into a corresponding cavity, amortize, to form a secure joint.

TORCHERE

An indirect floor lamp which sends all or nearly all of its light upward.

TRACERY

The curvilinear openwork shapes of stone or wood, creating a pattern within the upper part of a Gothic window.

TRAVERTINE

A variety of limestone deposited by springs, usually banded.

TRELLIS

An open grating or latticework of either metal or wood.

TRIFORIUM

In medieval church architecture, a shallow passage above the arches of the nave and choir and below the clerestory.

UNDERLAYMENT

A material such as plywood placed on a subfloor provides a smooth, even surface for applying the finish.

VISTA

A usually unobstructed view into the distance.

VOMITORY

An entrance or opening usually one of a series that pierce a bank of seats in a stadium.

VOUSSOIR

A wedge-shaped masonry unit in an arch or vault whose converging sides are cut as radii of one of the centers of the arch or vault.

WAINSCOT

A decorative or protective facing applied to the lower portion of an interior partition or wall.

WEEP HOLE

A small opening in a wall or window member through which accumulated condensation or water may drain to the exterior of the building.

XYST

In classical architecture, a roofed colonnade opened to at least one side for exercising in bad weather.

YOKE

The horizontal piece forming the head of a window or door frame.

ZONING

The control by a municipality of the use of land and buildings.

Also Read: Roles and Responsibilities of Architect in Construction

Gopal Mishra

Related Articles

Leave a comment

You must login to add a new comment.

Free Signup or Login to continue Reading...