Glossary of Terms

Ball-flower: An architectural ornament of a ball inserted in the cup of a flower which came into use in the latter part of the 13th.  It is generally placed in rows at equal distances in the hollow of a molding.

Buttress: A structure, usually brick or stone, built against a wall for support or reinforcement.

Capital: The crowning feature of a column; the top of a column or pillar.

Cornice: Horizontal moulded projection that completes a building or wall.

Crocket: A hook-shaped decorative element common in Gothic design. It is in the form of a stylised carving of curled leaves, buds or flowers which is used at regular intervals.

Flying ButtressA supportive structure that distributes the weight of roofs and walls directly to the ground and is connected by arch or half-arch arm.

Groin: The angular curve made by the intersection of two semi-cylinders or arches. It is either regular or irregular

Medieval: At times used interchangeably to discuss Gothic style.

Moorish Architecture: Term used to describe the articulated Islamic style which developed in North Africa and south-western.

Mullion: A vertical member, as of stone or wood, dividing a window or other opening.

Ornamentation: The act or process of decorating, adorning, or embellishing; the state of being decorated, adorned, or embellished.

Pier - An upright support.

Pinnacle - a terminal ornament found on roofs, buttresses, or other high points.

Pointed Arch: An arch in which two sides of the arch lean against each other for support. The increased force and loads placed on the arches from the ceiling is displaced onto flying buttresses, allowing for thinner walls and heavier ceiling loads.

Quatrefoil:  In architecture, an opening or a panel dividing by cusps or foliations into four leaves, or more correctly the leaf-shaped figure formed by the cusps. It is an ornament which has been supposed to represents the four leaves of a cruciform flower, and is common in the tracery of Gothic window.

Rib - A transverse or diagonal member of a vault/

Ribbed vault: Made by connecting arches that incorporates two diagonal arches reaching from corner to corner, along with other arches that span the length and side of the vaults.

Romanesque Architecture: Roman-like design that came before the Gothic era.

Tracery: Ornamental work of interlaced and branching lines, especially the lacy openwork in a Gothic window.

Triforium - A gallery of arches above the longitudinal arches along the nave of a church.

Vault - Part of a structure roofed by arched masonry. 


Architecture Styles: