A TO Z ARCHITECTURE FOR KIDS
A TO Z ARCHITECTURE FOR KIDS
A TO Z
Dictionary of ARCHITECTURE TERMS
St. Stephen Martyr School
Index (click on a letter to go to that section)
• Arcade- A row of
arches or columns
that create a
Arcade inside the Mosque of
Uqba also known as the Great
Mosque of Kairouan, situated
in Kairouan, Tunisia
St. Louis Arch
Balcony- A small
porch that sticks
off a building
Bay window- A
window that projects
out from a building (
if it is only on an
upper floor, it’s called
an ORIEL WINDOW ).
Beam- A horizontal piece of structure
supported at both ends.
Example of post and
Bracket- A piece of
wood or stone used to
hold up another building
part, such as a cornice,
balcony, lintel or sill.
In architecture, a buttress is a
projecting mass of masonry, used for
resisting the outward thrust of an arch,
to strengthen and support a wall, or for
ornament and symmetry.
• Cantilever- A piece of
that is only supported
on one end.
• Column- A vertical piece of
structure that supports a beam.
There are three basic styles
of Greek columns:
1. The plain Doric came
2. Then the stylized rams
horns of the Ionic.
3. Lastly the very ornate
capped with acanthus leaves
Cornice- The molding that
projects out from the top of a
A rounded roof,
with a circular
base, shaped like
an arch in all
Doors are generally used to separate interior spaces
(rooms, closets, etc.) for privacy, convenience,
security, and safety reasons. Doors are also used
to secure passages into a building from the
exterior for reasons of safety and climate control.
A window that sticks out from a
roof to provide more light and air.
The eaves are the edges or lower borders of the
roof of a building, which overhang the walls, and
cast off the water that falls on the roof.
The outside “ face” of the building.
The term refers to any long, narrow,
horizontal panel or band used for
decorative purposes—e.g., on pottery,
on the walls of a room, or on the exterior
walls of buildings.
Gable- The end of a roof shaped
like a triangle.
The House of the Seven Gables 1668.
This house was featured in Nathaniel
Hawthorne's novel of the same name.
Gazebo- An outdoor,
open-air structure used
Hearth - floor of the fireplace, usually
extending into a room and paved with
brick, flagstone or cement
There are three basic styles of Greek
column - The Corinthian capped with
acanthus leaves, the Ionian capped with
a stylized ram horns and the plain Doric.
Igloos (or Iglu) are snow houses
used by the Inuit (Eskimos) of northern
Canada. Not all Inuit people used
igloos -- some built sod houses
instead, using whale bones instead of
wooden poles for a frame. Like a sod
house, the igloo is dome-shaped and
slightly excavated, but it is built from
the snow, with large blocks of ice set
in a spiral pattern and packed with
snow to form the dome.
JAMB (DOOR OR WINDOW)
A door jamb is the vertical portion of
the frame onto which a door is
center stone in an
Lintel- The piece of structure over
a door or window opening,
which supports the weight of the
wall above it.
Longhouses were built by native
peoples in various parts of North
America, sometimes reaching over
330 ft but generally around 16 feet
Masonry is the building of structures
from individual units laid in and bound
together by mortar. The common materials
of masonry construction are brick, stone such as
marble, granite, travertine, limestone, concrete
block, glass block, and tile.
sometimes used as
a trim collar for
ceiling fans or
The Narthex of a
church is the
entrance or lobby
area, located at
the end of the
nave, at the far
end from the
From navis, ship,
an early symbol
of the church.
The central aisle;
the part of a
and the chancel,
from the aisles
by piers or
NAVE O F TH E CATHEDRAL OF THE ASSUMPTION
IN LOUISVILLE KY
NOMADIC TENTS were used by
nomads, people who followed their
flocks to pasture and water, and moved
around according to the seasons.
Ornament- Any decoration on a
building that has no structural
Oculus window the name of the round
opening in the top of the dome of the
Pantheon in Rome, and in reference to other
round windows, openings, and skylights.
Parapet-A low guarding wall at any
point of sudden drop, as at the edge
of a terrace, roof, battlement, balcony,
Pediment- A small gable
over door or window.
The upper part of the Greek National
Academy building in Athens,
showing the pediment with its
Post and lintel construction
Post and lintel is where a horizontal member
(the lintel—or header) is supported by two
vertical posts at either end.
• Quoins- Large
that wrap around
the corner of a
a symmetrical shape which forms the overall
outline of four partially-overlapping circles of the
• Roof- The top of a building which
protects the inside from the
Sill- The piece of the structure under a
window or door opening.
• Skylight- A window in the roof.
Stoop- A short
set of steps
up to the
front door of
Structure- The parts of the building
that supports weight; a building’s
Spire - any
above a square
Steeple: a tall
structure; a tower,
composed of a
series of stories,
diminishing in size,
and topped by a
spire or cupola.
Tepees (also spelled Teepees or Tipis) are tent-like American Indian
houses used by Plains tribes. A tepee is made of a cone-shaped wooden
frame with a covering of buffalo hide. Like modern tents, tepees are carefully
designed to set up and break down quickly. As a tribe moved from place to
place, each family would bring their tipi poles and hide tent along with them.
Originally, tepees were about 12 feet high, but once the Plains Indian tribes
acquired horses, they began building them twice as high.
• Turret A small tower that is
part of a building, usually
round and corbeled from a
A building or part of a building that is
exceptionally high in proportion to its width
URN - vase of varying size and
shape, usually having a footed
base or pedestal
Found in cemeteries on
monuments as a symbol of
immortality (the storing of the
vital organs was of extreme
importance to the ancient
Egyptians who believed that life
would be restored through the
vital organs placed in the urn).
Vault: An arched
structure of stone,
brick, or reinforced
concrete, forming a
supporting structure of
a ceiling or roof
Wainscoting -- A decorative or protective
facing, such as wood paneling.
Window- An opening in a wall that
lets in light and air.
Everything you could possibly what to know about a window:
Wigwam The wigwam
was a round shelter used by
many different Native
American cultures in the east
and the southeast. It is
considered one of the best
shelters made. It was as safe
and warm as the best houses
of early colonists. The
wigwam has a curved
surface which can hold up
against the worst weather in
Xtreme architecture – Antoni Gaudi
The Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
Tismana Monastery In Romania was used in the
MIddle Ages as a xenodochium
During the Middle Ages, a xenodochium was a room in a
monastery for the reception and entertainment of strangers
and pilgrims and traveler, similar to an inn or hotel.
(This particular xenodochium’s foundation dates to Roman occupation
over the land—sanctuary blessed in 1377)
A yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood latticeframed dwelling structure traditionally used by
nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.
The ziggurat was an
brick-built temple tower.
Ziggurats were constructed
of rectangular units of
diminishing size, generally
with a shrine for the god on
top. They existed in every
Babylonian, and Assyrian