Monroe County (NY) Library System — Pathfinders — Architecture

Monroe County (NY) Library System - Pathfinders - Architecture

A Beginner’s Guide to Architecture in Rochester and Monroe County:

The Vocabulary of Architecture

Arcade — a row of arches on columns or piers. Also, an arched covered gallery or passageway

Arch — A curved construction for spanning an opening such as a doorway or window. The shape of the curve may take many forms

Arch above entrance at Corpus Christi Church

Architect — a person who designs buildings and advises on their construction

An architect at work

Architecture — the art and science of designing and building structures

Architrave — 1. The lowest division of an entablature resting in classical architecture immediately on the capital of the column; 2. The molding around a rectangular opening (as a door)

Arts and Crafts — The Arts and Crafts period occurred from 1894-1923. It was a time when many artists and craftspeople rejected Victorian excess and ornamentation. They preferred natural environments and designed simple, well-crafted objects of oak, ceramics and textiles.

Ashlar — Stone blocks hewn to an accurate square and having a smooth face. Also, masonry of such stone laid evenly

Atrium — an open central court in Greek and Roman-style buildings

The atrium at Rochester City Hall

Balustrade — a series of pillars (balusters) supporting a rail to form a low wall or parapet.

Battlement — a parapet with open spaces that surmounts a wall and is used for defense or decoration

Belvedere — a small structure, usually surmounting a roof, which commands a view. A belvedere must have open sides, while a cupola can be windowless

Bevel — the angle that one surface or line makes with another when they are not at right angles; the slant of such a surface or line

Board and batten — a type of wooden siding on a building. It is made of wide boards going vertically, with narrower boards covering the joints

Bracket — a decorative support under the eaves of a porch or roof

Brackets on the porch of Fairport’s Osburn House

Brick — a mix of clay and other material that is formed into a rectangular building block. The blocks are air-dried, then baked in a kiln at a very high temperature so that they will last for many years In all sorts of weather

Monroe County (NY) Library System - Pathfinders - Architecture

Capital — the uppermost member of a column or pilaster crowning the shaft and taking the weight of the entablature

Capitals at Rochester’s St. Francis Xavier Church

Chamfer — An oblique face or bevel cut at the corner of a board. Also, to cut grooves or fluting or a beveled edge

Chimney — a shaft made of brick, stone, or even sticks and mud, which allows smoke to go from a fireplace to the outside. Chimneys can be located at the gable ends of a house, or the center. They extend above the roof

Clapboard — a type of wooden siding where the boards run horizontally and slightly overlap

Cobblestone — a naturally rounded stone larger than a pebble and smaller than a boulder; especially: such a stone used in paving a street or in construction

Colonnade — a series of columns set at regular intervals and usually supporting the base of a roof structure

The colonnade of Rush Rhees Library on the University of Rochester campus

Column — a sort of pole that holds up part of a building. Columns come in many styles. The parts of a column are the capital, the shaft and the base. Types of columns are Doric, Ionic and Corinthian.

Corbel — A projecting bracket that supports a beam. It is often decorated with sculpture


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