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Glossary of Terms Get a Project Evaluation

Below are some terms that are commonly used in architectural metal and glass design, architectural metal and glass installation, and metal and glass fabrication. Having some familiarity with these terms can be helpful when working with an architectural metal and glass design, installation, or fabrication company.

A means of quantifying the number of openings (windows and doors) on a building. For example, a house with a window on either side of a center door would have three bays.

A small structure atop a roof that houses a bell, or, a small bell tower. Commonly seen on schoolhouses and churches.

Board and Batten:
A method of construction wherein wood is arranged in vertical boards and is held in place with a batten, which is a horizontal board.

Supports, often made of either pressed metal or of wood, that appear at the cornice line of a building. They may be decorated with a pattern or may be simpler.

A set of metal doors that provides an outdoor entrance to a cellar.

Typically made of stone or brick, a buttress is a wall support that is situated on the exterior of a building.
A stone, brick, or cinder block column located in the center interior of a building. The chimney pulls smoke and other gasses out of the home.

A wooden board with one edge thinner than the other. Installed on the outside walls of a building to create weatherproofing.

A pillar that offers support. Often used decoratively on porches.

Column Capitals:
Round columns often have a top that is decorative, known as a capital.

A means of weather protection that involves capping at the top of a wall.

Using brick on top of windows or chimneys to create the decorative shape of a bracket or dentil beneath a cornice.

F inishing the edge of a roof where the roof meets an exterior wall creates a cornice. These finishes are decorative and vary in size.

Crenalated Parapet:
A retaining wall that rests low at the edge of a porch or a roof. A crenalated parapet has a uniform pattern of openings, which creates a battlement.

A decorative roof fencing with a lacy pattern. Constructed of wrought iron. Rims the edge of the peak of a roof.

Small tower projection situated on the top of a roof or building.
A window in the roof or at roof level. Typically topped by either a front gable or a shed roof.
A roof edge that overhangs the exterior walls of a building. Is sometimes accompanied by exposed rafters.
The face of a building. Often, façade is used to refer to as the front of the building.

A window that is the shape of a fan and is placed on top of a door.

Fenestration Pattern:
Windows arranged across the façade of a building.

Decorative piece that is situated on top of a cupola, gate, gable, or spire.

Floor Plan:
A scaled drawing or rendering of the various levels of a building, depending the location of rooms, where walls are placed, and where chimneys, porches, and staircases are located.

Decorative trim in which parallel grooves are carved vertically along the surface of a wooden column.

A panel beneath a cornice at the top of an exterior wall. Often ornamented with modallions, dentils, or brackets.
A flat piece situated horizontally atop a window.
Construction utilizing brick, tile, stone or concrete block and mortar.

A raised surface that is decorative along the edge of a window, door, column, wall, or other architectural feature.

Wood divisions between glass panes on a window.
Oriel Window:
A bay window that projects and is supported by a triangual support piece or by brackets.
Low brick or stone wall at the top of a building.

A triangular space that is the result of a front facing gable roof.

A decorative piece of metal or wood that hangs down from a porch, bracket, or cornice.

Pent Roof:
A narrow shed roof that is placed above the first floor of a building. Protects doors, windows, and lower walls. Often covers all four sides of a building.

A support column that does not have any classical detailing.

A narrowly protruding column that is attached to a wall. It gives the illusion that it is a freestanding support column.

Pointed Arch:
An arch with a strong center point.

A space that is outside the main support walls of a building that has a roof.

A small porch used for entrances.
Decorative squares or rectangles that are made of either wood, concrete, stone, or brick and are placed on the corners of buildings.
Support beams for a roof, often made of wood and occasionally visible on the exterior.
Segmental Arch:
An arch over a window or door that is slightly rounded.

Semi-Elliptical Arch:
An arch over a window or door that is an elongated round shape.

A flat horizontal piece at the bottom of a door or window.

Wide steps that lead to the front of a building and are uncovered.

The number of stacked floors in a building. Often used as a means of describing the height of a building.

Thin plaster coating that is applied to exterior walls.
A small tower that is trimmed with corbelling.

Tracery Window:
A pointed arch window that is filled with curving stone mullions.

Transom Light:
A flat glass panel situated above a door. Typically multi-paned.

Tudor Arch:
An arch that is flattened but has a center point above a door or window.

A small tower that is located at the corner of a building.
An exterior horizontal wooden board that is applied with the lower edge overlapping the board below it. Used to form exterior walls.
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