Glossary of Architectural Terms


Aisle – situated along the body of a building, this is separated by columns among others.

Arch – a weight support that is curved by design: commonly used for gates.

Arris – the adjoining point of two sharp edges at an angle.

Attic – located below the roof in some houses, an attic is an enclosed storey.

Basement – a feature of a house which lies on the lowest storey; typically for storage.

Bay window – a large window that enables you to look out at the exterior of a house

Bond – usually used in terms of brickwork, this is when two or more bricks are joined in an overlapping way.

Cantilever – an overhead that is an unsupported, acts as a lever.

Chimney – used for ventilation, typically located in the living/front room of a house.

Column – a structure which can take the wight of other floors of a building

Fanlight – a window which has glazing bars that radiate out, much like a fan

Gambrel – referring to a roof that is two sided and equilateral on both sides

Gazebo – a pavilion which can be easily set up and then easily dismantled, usually found in gardens and public parks

Keystone – an important facet of joining the crown of an arch and acts as a “lock” for all parts

Latticework – a criss-cross design of framework, often found on garden fences

Mansard roof – a form of hip roof which originates from France

Mullion – this divides two windows and is usually a vertical bar of wood

Niche – a small space (see: nook)

Parapet – provides protection from falling from a rooftop

Pavilion – a freestanding structure and one that is commonplace in many public places

Pelmet – located above a window; a type of framework

Pier – Found across many seaside resorts, this is the support for a superstructure

Portico – a covered walkway at the front of a building

Quoin – walls use these as cornerstones

Rotunda – typically giant in size, these are usually the most grandiose places in a building and are supported by a dome

Spandrel – a space in the middle of arches

Truss – triangular units that support a structure; used in the home but commonly implemented for bridges and larger builds

Ventilation shaft – a modern twist on the chimney that does not appear as visible as a tool for airflow


If you’d like to know some more of the essential terms when it comes to architecture, be sure to consult BR Architecture. As one of the most established and respected architects Cheshire has to offer, you can be assured that they’ll be able to assist you with any additional queries

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