This post is being compiled with the intent of expanding the vocabulary of the Referee in describing buildings and their features, in order that they may have a deeper pool of vivid descriptions to draw from, other than "door," "window," "floor," or "ceiling."
Aisle - subsidiary space alongside the body of a building, separated from it by columns, piers, or posts.
- raised panel below a window or wall monument or tablet.
- open portion of a marine terminal immediately adjacent to a vessel berth, used in the direct transfer of cargo between the vessel and the terminal.
- concrete slab immediately outside a vehicular door or passageway used to limit the wear on asphalt paving due to repetitive turning movements.
Apse - vaulted semicircular or polygonal end of a chapel.
Arcade - passage or walkway covered over by a succession of arches or vaults supported by columns. Blind arcade or arcading: the same applied to the wall surface.
Arch - a curved structure capable of spanning a space while supporting significant weight.
Architrave - the moulded frame of a door or window.
Arris - sharp edge where two surfaces meet at an angle.
Articulation - articulation is the manner or method of jointing parts such that each part is clear and distinct in relation to the others, even though joined.
Ashlar - masonry of large blocks cut with even faces and square edges.
Atrium - (plural: atria) inner court of a house; in a multi-storey building, a toplit covered court rising through all storeys.
Attic - small top storey within a roof. The storey above the main entablature of a facade.
Bahut - a small parapet or attic wall bearing the weight of the roof of a cathedral or church.
Baluster - small moulded shaft, square or circular, in stone or wood, sometimes metal, supporting the coping of a parapet or the handrail of a staircase; a series of balusters supporting a handrail or coping.
Barrel vault - an architectural element formed by the extrusion of a single curve (or pair of curves, in the case of a pointed barrel vault) along a given distance.
Basement - lowest, subordinate storey of building often either entirely or partially below ground level.
Basilica - a large roofed hall erected for transacting business and disposing of legal matters.
Batter - upwardly receding slope of a wall or column.
Bays - internal compartments of a building; each divided from the other by subtle means such as the boundaries implied by divisions marked in the side walls (columns, pilasters, etc) or the ceiling (beams, etc). Also external divisions of a building by fenestration (windows).
Bay window - window of one or more storeys projecting from the face of a building. Canted: with a straight front and angled sides. Bow window: curved. Oriel: rests on corbels or brackets and starts above ground level; also the bay window at the dais end of a medieval great hall.
Belfry - chamber or stage in a tower where bells are hung.
Boss - roughly cut stone set in place for later carving.
Bossage - uncut stone that is laid in place in a building, projecting outward from the building, to later be carved into decorative moldings, capitals, arms, etc. Bossages are also rustic work, consisting of stones which seem to advance beyond the surface of the building, by reason of indentures, or channels left in the joinings; used chiefly in the corners of buildings, and called rustic quoins. The cavity or indenture may be round, square, chamfered, beveled, diamond-shaped, or enclosed with a cavetto or listel.
Bond - brickwork with overlapping bricks. Types of bond include stretcher, English, header, Flemish, garden wall, herringbone, basket, American, and Chinese.
Boutant - type of support. An arc-boutant, or flying buttress, serves to sustain a vault, and is self-sustained by some strong wall or massive work. A pillar boutant is a large chain or jamb of stone, made to support a wall, terrace, or vault. The word is French, and comes from the verb bouter, "to butt" or "abut".
Bracket - weight-bearing member made of wood, stone, or metal that overhangs a wall.
Brise soleil - projecting fins or canopies which shade windows from direct sunlight.
Bullseye window - small oval window, set horizontally.
Bressummer - large, horizontal beam supporting the wall above, especially in a jettied building.
Bulwark - barricade of beams and soil designed to mount artillery. On board ships the term refers to the woodwork running round the ship above the level of the deck. Figuratively it means anything serving as a defense.
Buttress - vertical member projecting from a wall to stabilize it or to resist the lateral thrust of an arch, roof, or vault. A flying buttress transmits the thrust to a heavy abutment by means of an arch or half-arch.
Cantilever - an unsupported overhang acting as a lever, like a flagpole sticking out of the side of a wall.
Casement window - window hung vertically, hinged one side, so that it swings inward or outward.
Cella - the inner chamber of a temple.
Celerestory - an upper story of a building with windows above adjacent roofs.
Chapter House - a meeting place for the chapter or governing body of a monastery or a cathedral.
Chresmographion - chamber in Greek temples where oracles were delivered.
Cincture - ring, list, or fillet at the top and bottom of a column, which divides the shaft from the capital and base.
Cippus - low pedestal, either round or rectangular, set up for various purposes such as military or milestones, boundary posts. Occasionally funeral memorials.
Circulation - describes the flow of people throughout a building.
Coffer - a coffer, in architecture, is a sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon that serves as a decorative device, usually in a ceiling or vault. Also called caissons, or lacunar.
Compluvium - Latin term for the open space left in the roof of the atrium of a Roman house (domus) for lighting it and the rooms round.
Coping (architecture) - the capping or covering of a wall.
Cornice - a projecting shelf along the top of a wall often supported by brackets.
Cross springer - block from which the diagonal ribs of a vault spring or start. The top of the springer is known as the skewback.
Crypto-porticus - concealed or covered passage, generally underground, though lighted and ventilated from the open air. One of the best-known examples is the crypto-porticus under the palaces of the Caesars in Rome. In Hadrians villa in Rome they formed the principal private intercommunication between the several buildings.
Dormer - a structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface. Dormers are used, either in original construction or as later additions, to create usable space in the roof of a building by adding headroom and usually also by enabling addition of windows.
Dosseret, or impost block - cubical block of stone above the capitals in a church, used to carry the arches and vault, the springing of which had a superficial area greatly in excess of the column which carried them.
Dromos - entrance passage or avenue leading to a building, tomb or passageway. Those leading to beehive tombs are enclosed between stone walls and sometimes in-filled between successive uses of the tomb. In ancient Egypt the dromos was a straight, paved avenue flanked by sphinxes.
Estrade - French term for a raised platform or dais.
Gable - a triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof.
Gablets - triangular terminations to buttresses.
Gadrooning - carved or curved molding used in architecture and interior design as decorative motif, often consisting of flutes which are inverted and curved.
Gambrel - a symmetrical two-sided roof with two slopes on each side.
Gazebo - a freestanding pavilion structure often found in parks, gardens and public areas.
Geison - forms the outer edge of the roof on the sides of a structure with a sloped roof.
Hip roof - a type of roof where all sides slope downwards to the walls.
Hyphen - a structural section connecting the main portion of a building with its projecting wings.
Jamb - a vertical element of a doorway or window frame.
Keystone (architecture) - the architectural piece at the crown of a vault or arch that marks its apex, locking the other pieces into position.
Lacunar - paneled or coffered ceiling, soffit, or vault adorned with a pattern of recessed panel.
Lantern - a small circular or polygonal structure, with windows all around the base, which opens above a larger tower or dome.
Latticework - an ornamental, lattice framework consisting of a criss-crossed pattern.
Lintel (architecture) - a horizontal block that spans the space between two supports.
Loggia - a gallery formed by a colonnade open on one or more sides. The space is often located on an upper floor of a building overlooking an open court or garden.
Lozenge - a diamond shape.
Lunette - a half-moon shaped space, either masonry or void.
Mansard roof - a curb roof in which each face has two slopes, the lower one steeper than the upper.
Marriage stone - a stone lintel, usually carved, with a marriage date.
Molding - decorative finishing strip.
Mullion - vertical bar of wood, metal or stone which divides a window into two or more parts.
Narthex - a low projection at the western end of a church, like a porch.
Niche - a recess in the thickness of a wall.
Oillets - arrow slits in the walls of medieval fortifications, but more strictly applied to the round hole or circle with which the openings terminate.
Parclose - screen or railing used to enclose a chantry, tomb or chapel, in a church, and for the space thus enclosed.
Pavilion (structure) - a free standing structure near the main building or an ending structure on building wings.
Pedestal (also Plinth) - the base or support on which a statue, obelisk, or column is mounted.
Pediment - a triangular space above a window or entrance.
Pendentive - a spherical triangle which acts as a transition between a circular dome and a square base on which the dome is set
Piano nobile - the principal floor of a large house, built in the style of renaissance architecture.
Pier (architecture) - an upright support for a superstructure, such as an arch or bridge.
Pilaster - a slightly-projecting column built into or applied to the face of a wall.
Plinth - the base or platform upon which a column, pedestal, statue, monument or structure rests.
Pinnacle - a pointed termination of a spire, buttress, or other extremity of a building. Pinnacles are sometimes ornamented.
Poppy heads - finials or other ornaments which terminate the tops of bench ends, either to pews or stalls. They are sometimes small human heads, sometimes richly carved images, knots of foliage or finials, and sometimes fleurs-de-lis simply cut out of the thickness of the bench end and chamfered. The term is probably derived from the French poupee doll or puppet used also in this sense, or from the flower, from a resemblance in shape.
Porte-cochère - a porch - or portico-like structure at a main or secondary entrance to a building through which a horse and carriage can pass in order for the occupants to alight under cover, protected from the weather.
Prick post - old architectural name given sometimes to the queen posts of a roof, and sometimes to the filling in quarters in framing.
Portico - a series of columns or arches in front of a building, generally as a covered walkway.
Pteroma - the enclosed space of a portico, peristyle, or stoa, generally behind a screen of columns.
Refectory - Dining room in a monastery.
Return - receding edge of a flat face. On a flat signboard, for example, the return is the edge which makes up the board's depth.
Revolving Door - an entrance door for excluding drafts from an interior of a building. A revolving door typically consists of three or four doors that hang on a center shaft and rotate around a vertical axis within a round enclosure.
Rib - an arch of masonry, often molded, which forms part of the framework on which a vault rests.
Rib vault - a masonry vault with a relatively thin web and set within a framework of ribs.
Scriptorium - area in a monastery where books and documents were written, copied, and illuminated.
Socle - low projecting base for a wall or statue
Soffit - The underside of an architectural structure such as an arch or overhanging eaves.
Spandrel - the roughly triangular wall space between two adjacent arches.
Spire - an elongated, pointed structure which rises from a tower, turret, or roof.
Squinch - a piece of construction used for filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a proper base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome.
Transom - window or element above a door but within its vertical frame.
Voussoir - a wedge-shaped element, typically a stone used in building an arch or vault.