Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Architectural Word of the Day; 161 - 170


Prominently employed though not exclusive to Islamic architecture, an arch featuring a curve that continues slightly past its diametre, resulting in the opening below being narrower than its greatest span.

I quite like the scalloped treatment of the upper storey arches in this exemplary Charleston façade.



The diagonal ribs of a Gothic vault.



The exterior face, the architectural front of a building. Sometimes, as is the case with the tombs at Petra carved out of the living rock that is all there is, nothing more than a façade...and sometimes that is enough...


Fantastical morphings of human, animal and vegetal forms were typical Roman crypt decor. "Grottesca" is Italian, meaning "of the grotto" which derives from old Vulgar Latin "grupta" from the Classical Latin "crypta". Surprising to know our use of the English "crypt" is closest to the original Latin pronunciation!


Literally meaning the "glass room", the term implies a vaulting of plated glass. The Cour Vitrée of the Palais des Études, École des Beaux-Arts in Paris provides an exceptional example of the delicacy and sophistication typical of the 19th century use of glass and steel.

Ornamentation of a running vine featuring grape clusters and accompanying leaves. This unusual polychromatic example in high relief is taken from the ceiling of a late seventeenth century Irish chapel.

A large stone basin with orifices of flowing water traditionally used in ablutions, ritual washings of purification.

This example from the Abbey of Valmagne, Languedoc provides such a peaceful setting for inner reflection.


The Greek word for gateway that we apply almost exclusively to the massive, slanted entrance portal to ancient Egyptian temple complexes. Note how each one of those column capitals to the right are unique.

A monumental arch having four portals allowing for the passage of two intersecting streets.
 Contributed by Patrick Webb



1 comment: