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Glossary of Architectural Terms

This glossary of architectural terms was compiled in 1988 by the MHS Walking Tour Committee for its Historical Walking Tour of Wolseley.

Term

Definition

Bargeboard

The facing board closing the end of a gable or dormer.

Cresting

Decorative iron work found along the ridge line of a structure.

Cornice

A horizontal moulding projecting along the top of a building or wall.

Corinthian

One of the three traditional types of ornament at the top of a column; this is the most ornate with a vine leaf motif.

Doric

One of the three types of decoration at the top of a column, with plain curved segments.

Dormer

A window projecting from the slope of a roof.

Finial

A pointed ornament at the apex of a gable or pediment or roof edge.

Gable

Triangular upper part of a wall at the end of a ridged roof; triangular hood over a window or door.

Gambrel

A gable roof having two slopes on each side like a barn roof.

Georgian

These houses follow a tradition started under the Georges, British kings in the 18th century. They usually are two and one-half storeys, with balanced facades and centre doors. Openings are rectangular, but the palladian window is a decorative motif.

Gothic

The Gothic Revival style, popular from 1850 to 1870 often features pointed-arch openings, steeply pitched angular shaped gables intricate bargeboards, and finials or drops at the gable peaks.

Half-timbering

Surface treatment: wooden members with plaster or stucco infill.

Italianate

A popular style from 1850 to 1870. Buildings, often square in plan, have square towers, low-pitched hip roofs with wide eaves, verandas, round-headed windows, and prominent decorative brackets under the eaves.

Keystone

The symmetrical stone at the top of an arch.

Palladian

Describes a set of three windows, the centre one arched and taller than those on the side.

Pediment

A low pitched gable surmounting a doorway or window, often decorative.

Picturesque

Houses often reflect the taste of the builder or owner, having decorative elements sometimes of Gothic origin.

Portico

Porch with pillars or columns.

Queen Anne

The revival of this style was popular from 1885 to 1900. There is often a tower and a broad veranda. The facade may have more than one surface sheathing or several patterns. Double hung windows often have one large bottom sash, small panes in the upper sash.

Historical Walking Tours in Manitoba

Page revised: 28 December 2010

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