Thursday, July 30, 2015

Architectural Word of the Day; 181 - 190


Rubbed and gauged brickwork is the highest artistic expression of the medium and craft. Appropriate bricks are fired at low heat, made of the finest clay, sieved of any rocks.

They are then hand "gauged" or cut to the appropriate shape with axes, saws, rasps etc. and subsequently "rubbed" to a precise fit and finish against a harder rubbing stone.


A column whose shaft is twisted and often enriched with running vines. Having a purported origin from the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, the spiral column is often found as the support of the canopy over the high altar of a Catholic church.

A hemicyclium is one form of an ancient sundial in the form of a concave quarter sphere or more accurately conic section.

The shadow casting rod or "gnomon" is oriented so that it points north and is parallel to the rotation axis of the Earth, marking the surface of the hemicyclium.


Highly detailed, corbeled arches or vaults unique to Islamic architecture.

The appearance is intentionally designed to stylize stalactites in symbolism of Muhammad having received his revelation from Allah, by means of the angel Gabriel in the Cave of Hira outside of Mecca.


An ornamental mosaic composed of small cubes of coloured marble, glass or tile called 'tesserae', Latin for 'dice'.

This guilloche patterned example from the Roman port city of Ostia is about two thousand years old.


Gorgons were seen as simultaneously endowed with beauty and terror, the writhing snakes of their hair, a symbol of fertility and a talisman against evil influences.

The name of the iconic gorgon, "Medusa" literally means "protector". The head of the Medusa was utilized as a symbol of royal "aegis", shield or protection.

 Contributed by Patrick Webb

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