Sunday, January 18, 2015

Architectural Word of the Day; 121 - 130


Coming directly from the Italian 'bel' meaning 'beautiful' and 'vedere' meaning 'to see', the belvedere is typically a rooftop pavilion offering a lovely vista. This church has two...the view must be twice as nice.


The Greeks utilized the word "akros" (ἄκρος), meaning "highest or at the extremity" to refer to the small pedestal upon which sculpted figures of ornament were placed upon the apex and corners of the roof.

Since that time the meaning has been extended to included the ornament itself even without the pedestal as in this example.


Of ancient Persian origin, they were adopted by the Greeks, Romans and have since been a regular feature of Western garden design.
Effective designs are constructed in a way to suppress wave movement and of course have something lovely to reflect.


A small window or louver projecting from a sloping roof surmounted by its own gable. The vertical sides of the dormer are called 'cheeks'.

The etymology comes directly from the French 'dormir', to sleep. So it was thought of as the window of a sleeping room, since the attic spaces of houses were typically bedrooms.


A colonnaded, sheltered porch that is detached from the main façade.

The portico often provides the first gesture of hospitality as well as transition from the public life of the street to the most intimate spaces of the home.


The vertical, enclosed area at the end of a sloping roof, defined by raking cornices running up from the eaves to the ridge. It is often triangular resembling the formal, classical pediment.


The plain Jane, country cousin of the pineapple or pinecone. The poor dear lacks sophistication and enrichment and as a result doesn't often get invited to the party...always stuck sitting on the gate post.


The semi-circular masonry arch, not a Roman invention but one they made widespread use of. Each of the stones or "voussoirs" are wedge shaped to distribute the load, transferring it to the ground via the impost, the top course of the masonry water table serving that function in this example.

Contributed by Patrick Webb

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