Glossary of Architectural Terms

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Bailey - Castle courtyard and surrounding buildings.

Balcony - A platform projecting from an upper story and enclosed by a railing.

Balloon Framing - A common type of house framing using a box sill and ribband (if a second floor exist).

Baluster - Any of the small posts that make up a railing as in a staircase; may be plain, turned, or pierced.

Balustrade - The combination of railing held up by balusters.

Barbican - Outwork defending the entrance to castle

Barge Board - The exterior board spanning the distance from the roof ridge to the cornice return.

Baroque - An architecture of flamboyance and swaggering excess that characterized the 17th century. Taking as a starting point the elements of classicism, Baroque architects gave their buildings an unprecedented elaboration , creating particularly dramatic spatially complex interiors heighten by ornamentation and by the use of bold lighting effects.

Barrel Roof - Like a covered wagon, or inverted ship; barrel vault is a plian vault of uniform cross-section.

Barrel Tiles - Rounded clay roof tiles most often used on Spanish-style houses. Usually red, but available in many colors.

Bartizan - Overhanging battlemented corner turret, corbelled out; common is Scotland (and France).

Baseboard - Finish trim where the floor and walls meet.

Base Molding - The decorative wooden strip along the top edge of the baseboard.

Base Shoe - The wooden strip (usually quarter round) along the bottom face of the baseboard at the floor level.

Basilica - The public hall that formed a gathering point in every Roman city, usually with a rectangular plan ending in as apse and divided by a double file of columns. It was the inspiration for the early Christian churches.

Bastion - A solid masonry projection.

Batt - A precut section of insulation designed to fit between studs.

Batten Board - A small strip of wood used, for example, to cover the joints between vertical siding.

Batter - An inclined face of wall; hence battered.

Batter Boards - Boards erected at the corners of a proposed building to specifically locate and show corners and show foundation wall height.

Battlements - A Parapet with indentations or embrasures, with raised portions (merlons) between; also called crenellations.

Bauhaus - The architecture, design, craft, and fine art school established by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, transferred to Dessau in 1925, and finally moved to BERLIN IN 1932. It closed in 1933 under increasing political interference. Its influence was worldwide, providing the most coherent statement of architectural modernism, primary through functionalist principles.

Bay - Buildings are often divided into repetitive elements, or bays, defined by the space between two horizontal beams, or pairs of vertical columns.

Bay Window - A set of two or more windows that protrude out from the wall. The window is moved away from the wall to provide more light and wider views..

Bead Molding - A small, cylindrical molding enriched with ornaments resembling a string of beads.

Beam - A Horizontal load-bearing element that forms a principal part of a structure, usually using timber, steel, or concrete.

Bearing Partition - An interior wall supporting weight from above.

Bed Board - A thin board (usually thin plywood) nailed to the underside of the return s and spanning the distance from the face board to the frieze. Now often referred to as the soffit.

Bell-cast Eaves - A roof which curves, sloping more gently toward the bottom.

Belt-course - A horizontal band similar to but thicker than a string course, marking subdivisions of a building.

Berm - A level area sepereating ditch from bank.

Beveled - A stone cut at angles for a more decorative display.

Beveled Wood Ridge - A wood strip that covers the ridge pole; commonly found on wood-shake roofs.

Bivalate - A hillfort defended by two concentric ditches.

Black Asphaltum - A bituminous substance applied to the outside of foundation walls beneath the ground level to waterproof these walls.

Blind Stop - A strip of material fastened to the inside perimeter of a window frame used to hold a sash in place.

Board and Batten - Vertical siding where wood strips (battens) hide the seams where other boards are joined.

Board Feet - A unit of measurement based on volume. 144 cubic inches of wood equals one board foot.

Bond - A term adopted to describe the various patterns used to lay bricks in order to give them maximum strength. It is an approach that has its origins in the period before the invention of high-strength cement mortars, which made bonding of this kind unnecessary; but the patterns survive, representing a cultural tradition now, rather than a functional necessity. English bond, for example, has been in use for 400 years, and is based on a mix of bricks laid end on, and side on, in such a way that the cross joints are regularly spaced. Other patterns include Flemish bond, heading, stretching, and American. Refers to the pattern formed by mortar joints between bricks, blocks or stones.

Boss - A carved stone positioned at the apex of a ribbed vault.

Bottom Rail - The lower rail of the bottom sash of a double-hung window.

Box Sill - A type of sill employing a continuous header with the appearance being responsible for the name.

Bracket - A small supporting piece of wood or stone, often formed of scrolls or other decorative shapes, designed to bear a projected weight, such asa a window.

Bratice - A timber towere, or projecting wooden gallery.

Breeze Way - A roofed area usually found between the garage and house proper designed tp provide shelter and outdoor summertime comfort.

Bricks - One of the oldest building materials, brick is based on a mix of clay with silt and sand pressed in molds and then burned in a kiln, which gives the characteristic slightly glazed finish. Standard brick sizes vary from country to country and over the years. In mainland Europe, for example, bricks are often more slender than those commonly used in the USA and Britain.

Brick Sill - A common type of exterior window sill in brick walls with the bricks protruding past the wall line to allow water to fall directly to the ground.

Brick Veneer - A type of wall constructed with facing brick covering a backing wall of frame or masonry.

Bridging Cross - Wood or metal strips nailed diagonally between floor joist tp prevent lateral movement and dissipate weight.

Bridging Solid - Wooden blocks used to separate floor joists beneath partition walls.

Brief - The formal written instructions prepared by a client for an architect, setting out the necessary requirements for a building in functional terms. They usually include the required accommodation, size of rooms, and relationship of one space to another.

Brutalism - A short-lived architectural movement of the 1960s that set itself in opposition to the picturesque Scandinavian-influenced mainstream of the period, and instead advocated the brutally frank expression of the nature of modern materials, characterized by unadorned concrete and the blunt detailing of joints and openings.

Building Paper - A black building paper used to cover roof boards and sheathing to help control moisture and wind infiltration.

Building Code - A set of laws drafted by the governing body of a borough, town or city to control building construction "to promote the public health, safety and general welfare" of the people in that locality.

Buttress - A structure built against a wall to support or reinforce it. Usually an exterior masonry structure that opposes the lateral thrust of an arch or a vault and adds extra support.