Terminology

acumen

Sharpness of mind, the ability to judge well

aedicule

An opening in a wall, such as a window or a niche, framed by columns or pilasters and sometimes surmounted by a pediment (from Latin, “little temple”)

architrave

The moulded frame surrounding a door or window

bangle

A fine detail surrounding a column just below the top capital

base

The bottom feature of a column columnterms1.gif

capital

The crowning feature of a column

cill

A moulding fixed horizontally at the base of a window or door (also spelt Sill)

column

A vertical shaft with moulded base and capital

corbels

Supporting members projecting from the face of a wall usually found under an eave or large cornice detail

cornice

A decorative feature found under the eaves of a roof or at the join between walls and ceiling in a room

dado

A lower part of an interior/exterior wall

dentils

A series of small rectangular blocks (tooth-like) spaced in a band to decorate a cornice

eaves

The underside of a projecting roof

fluting

Concave, vertical grooves in the surface of a column

keystone

A wedge-shaped stone in the crown of an arch or in the center of a lintel to lock the structure

lintel

The horizontal top piece of a window or door opening, requiring strength in order to support the wall above it

parapet

A cornice-type detail that is fixed to the outside of a wall as an alternative to an eave

pedestal

See Base

pediment

A decorative feature, usually triangular but often segmental, found on gable ends, above porticoes, doors, windows or aedicules. The upper part of the pediment is formed by a cornice moulding. Some pediments are split to receive some ornament or finial in the center, and occasionally the open ends of the split pediments are terminated in some form of scrolled block.

pilaster

A rectangular column with a capital and base, projecting only slightly from a wall as an ornamental motif.

plinth

See Base

quoin

A squared moulding at the corner of a building or other architectural feature. Quoins are usually staggered so that on a given elevation one sees alternately headers and stretchers.

sill

See Cill

volute

A spiral, scroll-like ornament found on Ionic capitals and some brackets. It is likely that the Ionic capital was initially inspired by the head and horns of a ram.