Architecture Data Glossary

The patterns and objects we use to categorize, organize, and describe architecture styles and buildings.


Animal statues

Various animals created in a life-like manner.

Arched windows

Windows where the top forms a half circle.


Small guard rail at the bottom of windows to prevent falling.


Decorative carved wood usually on the project edge of a gable.


Carved figure or face that slightly projects from the background.

Bay leaf garland

Garland that surrounds a window or door

Bay window

Window projecting outward, consisting of three sides.

Bell roof

Cupola or roof that has the form of a bell.

Belt course

Horizontal band of stone or brick that protrudes from wall.


Cubes or cylinders on the molding of a building that are alternately placed in a checkerboard pattern, parallel to direction of molding.

Broken pediment

Pediment with opening at the top, often featuring an urn or bouquet.


Part of parapet with alternating raised parts, made of stone, and resembling a castle or fort defenses

Chicago window

Three part windows with large center pane with double-hung sash windows on each side.


Series of columns supporting an entablature

Corinthian capital

Top part of column with decorative plant forms and small scrolls.

Cornice bracketing

Small wood brackets between the wall and roofline.


Small dome or square shaped top of roof or turret.

Decorative terra cotta

Ornamental wood-fired clay.


Repeating small square or rectangular blocks on a cornice. Word originating for Latin word for tooth.


Small window that protrudes from the slope of a roof.

Double hung window

Window which one pane slides up to provide ventilation.

Egg and dart

Decorative molding with an alternating egg and anchor or arrow pattern. Thought to represent the life and death cycle of life

Egyptian cornice

Cavetto molded cornice with leaves and Egyptian motifs


Top of building consisting of cornice, frieze (may contain bas-relief sculpture), and architrave.

Exposed rafters

Structural supports of a building that are not covered.


Foliated ornament at the top of an arch

Floral patterns (Sullivanesque)

Repeating floral patterns, often in a circular shape or with a circular background.


Running ornament usually featuring symmetrical and geometric shapes


Triangular shaped part of wall bound by edges of roof.


Stone grotesque creature that functions to carry rainwater away from a building.

Geometric ornament

Machine milled decorative wood shapes forming geometric patterns.

Geometric patterns/shapes

Repeating complex shapes made from polygons and/or circles, sometimes in a fractal pattern.

Gibbs surround

Rusticated entryway featuring blocks or stones alternating sizes around it.

Glass blocks

Green Man

Sculpture of a face surrounded by leaves or plants.


Figure with body of a lion and wings of an eagle.


Carved stone creature combining the worst of man, fish, bird, animal, and demon to ward off evil spirits.

Half timbering

Wood framework with spacing filled by plaster

High-relief face

Human face or head that protrudes far from background

Incised floral pattern

Cut floral patterns in to stone or block.

Ionic capital

Top part of column that resembles a scroll. The ornament itself is known as a volute, from the Latin for scroll.

Keyhole arch

Arch that resembles a horseshoe.

Lancet window

Windows that come to a point at the top. Name originates from the appearance of a lancet (pointed blade).

Large cornice bracketing

Elaborately carved and large supporting braces between a roof edge and supporting wall.

Mansard roof

Steeply pitched roof with dormers.

Multiple gable roof

Multiple triangles formed from sloping roof edges.


Circular decorative ornament, sometimes with with concentric bands or a small circular window.

Onion dome

Dome that is wider than its base, forming an onion shape.

Oriel window

Bay window with curved or bracketed support.


Motif which represents the fan-shaped leaves of a palm plant.


Protective wall on the edge of a building, rising up slightly above the roof line.


Triangular gable above a door or window.


Leaf shaped curve consisting of four parts


Masonry blocks at the edges of a wall.

Rounded corners

Curved walls

Shield and coat of arms

Medieval shield and/or coat of arms

Short columns

Columns used to support windows, arches, or other smaller features.


Spiral shaped carved wood decoration.

Stained glass

Geometric forms in stained glass.

Statuary alcoves

Openings in exterior wall often used to house statues, though frequently empty.


Building facade and footprint where each half or its sections mirror the others.


Part of building that extends out beyond its walls, and reaches the ground.

Transom window

Window above a door separated by a bar.


Leaf shaped curve consisting of three parts.


A tower that is attached to the building, but does not reach the ground.

Twisted columns

Columns (supporting or not) that are twisted to form spiral lines.