Glossary of Architectural Terms

awning window - A window that pivots on an axis or near the top edge of the sash and projects toward the outdoor.

axonometric - A drawing that gives a 3D representation of an object in scale with top and bottom edges usually tilted to an angle.

baluster - One of a series of short posts or pillars that make up a Balustrade and support the rail at the top and stand on the base at the bottom.

baseboard - A strip of finish material placed at the junction of a floor and a wall.

batten - A long thin piece of rectangular shaped material supporting roof tiles or covering joints between panelling.

beam - A straight structural member that acts primarily to resist non axial loads.

buffet - A sideboard or a counter or table from which guest serve themselves food.

building envelope - The exterior structure of a building that separates the interior environment from the exterior environment.

built-in - Any feature that is directly constructed into the structure of a building.

capital - The head of a column or pilaster which is often larger than the column itself.

casement window - A window that pivots on axis at or near the vertical edge of the sash. casing - The wood finish pieces surrounding the frame of a window or door.

chase - A small closed off space accommodating plumbing and other utilities. chair rail - A moulding running around the walls of a room at chair back height.

CMU - Concrete Masonry Unit A block of concrete with or without hollow cores, designed to be laid in the same manner as brick or stone.

column - An upright structural member acting primarily in compression.

cornice - The exterior detail at the meeting of a wall and a roof overhang; a decorative molding at the intersection of a wall and a ceiling.

course - A horizontal layer of masonry units one unit high; a horizontal line of shingles or siding.

crawl space - A space that is not tall enough to stand in, located beneath the bottom floor of the building.

design development - Phase of design process which fixes and describes the size and character of a project. dimension - Measurement in length width or depth.

dormer - A structure protruding through the plane of a sloping roof, usually with a window and its own smaller roof.

double-hung window - A window with two overlapping sashes that slide vertically in tracks. eave - The horizontal edge at the low side of a sloping roof.

elevation - A drawing that views a building from any of tis sides; a vertical height above a reference point such as above sea level.

exterior - The area not completely enclosed by a building.

finish - Exposed to view; the material that is exposed to view. I.E.. finish carpentry and finish floor.

fire wall - A wall to divide two parts of a building as a deterrent to the spread of fire.

flashing - A thin continuous sheet of metal, plastic, rubber or water proof paper used to prevent the passage of water through a joint.

footing - The widened part of a foundation that spreads a load from the building across a broader area of soil.

foundation - The portion of a building that has the sole purpose of transmitting structural loads from the building into the earth.

french door - A symmetrical pair of glazed swinging doors hinged to a single frame and meeting at the center.

gable - The triangular wall beneath the end of a gable roof. glider window - A window that opens by sliding horizontally to the side.

glulam - A timber made up of a large number of small strips of wood glued together.

grade - The surface of the ground; to move earth for the purpose of bringing the surface of the ground to an intended level profile.

gypsum board - An interior facing panel. Often referred to as drywall, plasterboard, gypsum wallboard and GWB.

hip - The diagonal intersection of planes in a hip roof.

interior - The area that is completely enclosed by a building.

jamb - The vertical side of a door or window.

joist - One of a group of light, closely spaced beams used to support a floor deck or flat roof.

knee wall - A short wall under the slope of the roof.

landing - A platform in or at either end of a stair.

light - The openings between the upright mullions of a window.

lintel - A beam that carries the load of a wall across a window or door opening. material - Substances that make up the construction of a building.

moulding - Moulded or worked surfaces given to project parts of edges of buildings and the intersection of vertical and horizontal surfaces.

mullions - An upright or vertical dividing bar in a window separating lights.

parapet - The region of an exterior wall that projects above the level of the roof.

pergola - A covered walkway in a garden formed from two rows of upright pillars supporting horizontal beams. perimeter - The edge of an area.

perpendicular - Something abutting at a 90 degree angle to something else.

perspective - A type of drawing that gives a 3D view of a building or space using a specific viewpoints and vanishing points.

paver - A half-thickness brick used as finish flooring.

pilaster - A column integrated within a wall.

pile - A long slender piece of material driven into the ground to as a foundation.

pitch - The slope of a roof or other plane, often expressed as inches of rise per foot of run.

picture window - A window that is fixed and cannot be opened, usually very large.

plan - A type of drawing that indicates the horizontal layout of a floor or site.

plenum - The space between the ceiling of a room and the structural floor above. programming - A system of determining how a project will address the needs of a client.

quoin - A corner reinforcing of cut stone or bricks in a masonry wall.

rafter - A framing member that runs up and down the slope of a steep roof.

rake - The sloping edge of a steep roof.

retaining wall - A wall that is contructed to hold back earth.

riser - The vertical portion of a stair.

roof types:

gable - A roof consisting of two oppositely sloping planes that intersect at a level ridge. gambrel - A roof shape consisting of two superimposed levels of gable roofs with the lower level at a steeper pitch.

hip - A roof consisting of four sloping planes that intersect to form a pyramidal or elongated pyramidal shape.

mansard - A roof shape consisting of two superimposed levels of hip roofs with the lower level at a steeper pitch.

shed - A building or dormer with a single -pitched roof. rough opening - The clear dimensions of the opening that must be provided in a wall frame to accept a given door or window unit.

run - The vertical portion of a stair. rural - Area that is not within an urban zone. sash - A frame that holds glass in a window.

schedules - A table that spells out information about construction elements.

schematic design - The phase of the design process where the massing and size of a project is determined.

scupper - An opening through which water can drain over the edge of a flat roof.

section - A type of drawing that cuts vertically through a building to show the interior and construction of a building. siding - The exterior wall finish material applied to a light frame wood structure.

sidelight - A tall narrow window alongside a door.

silhouette - The profile of a structure.

sill - The strip of wood that lies immediately on top of a concrete or masonry foundation in wood frame construction; the horizontal bottom portion of a window or a door.

site - The specific plot(s) of land on which a building is to be placed on.

slab on grade - A concrete surface lying, and supported by the ground beneath.

site plan - A drawing which shows the layout of a site including the topography, vegetation, groundwater and etc. on a site.

soffit -The undersurface of a horizontal element of a building, especially the underside of a stair or a roof overhang.

spandrel beam - A beam runs along the outside edge of a floor or a roof.

splash guard - An area at the back of a a counter where the material of counter rises up.

stud - One of a small series of small closely spaced wall framing members.

sump - A pit designed to collect water for removal fron a basement.

transition - Change of material or construction type in a building.

transom - A window directly above a door or another window.

tread - The horizontal portion of a stair which a user places their foot on.

trim - A piece of material which finishes the edge of a surface or opening. It is usually made of a different material or color from the adjacent surface.

truss - A triangular arrangement of structural members that reduces non-axial forces on the truss to a set of axial forces in the members.

vault - An arched integral roof or ceiling. vertical - Perpendicular to the horizon.

winder - A stair tread that is wider at one end than at the other.

wythe - A vertical layer of masonry one masonry unit thick.