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Article

Abacus  

Uppermost element of a capital on a column or pilaster (see Greece, ancient, fig. n; Orders, architectural, fig. xii). On the Doric, Ionic and Tuscan orders of architecture it is square in plan, but on the Corinthian each face is convex (see Orders, architectural...

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Small apse-like chapel, usually projecting from the eastern side of a transept (see Church, fig.).

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Michael Forsyth

Sound can be defined as audible vibrations within a relatively steady medium, and in buildings sound may be air-borne or structure-borne. The science of architectural acoustics is divisible into noise control and room acoustics. The following article is mainly concerned with the latter and the ‘desired’ sound generated within a space, because its design has had a significant impact on architectural form; it concentrates on examples of Western architecture....

Article

A. Delivorrias

Decorative finial crowning the apex and lower angles of the pediments of ancient Greek and Roman buildings. Acroteria were normally made of terracotta, poros, limestone or marble, although bronze acroteria are mentioned in the literary sources: Pausanias (Guide to Greece V.x.4) noted gilded Victories framed by bronze cauldrons at the lower angles of the pediments of the ...

Article

Adyton  

Most sacred inner part of a temple, accessible only to the priests (see Greece, ancient, fig. g).

S. K. Thalman: The Adyton in the Greek Temples of South Italy and Sicily (diss., U. California, Berkeley, 1976) M. B. Hollinshead: ‘"Adyton", "Opisthodomos", and the Inner Room of the Greek Temple’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 68/2 (April–June 1999), pp. 189–218...

Article

Margaret Lyttleton

Columnar niche or shrine applied decoratively to a larger building. The word is a diminutive from the Latin word aedes (‘temple’). Summerson traced its application to Gothic architecture and drew attention to the importance of playing at being in a house for all small children; he claimed that this kind of play has much to do with the aesthetics of architecture and leads ultimately to the use of the aedicula. The earliest surviving examples of aediculae are shop-signs from ...

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Aetoma  

Apex (or ‘ridge’) of a Classical temple.

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Aisle  

Longitudinal passage between seats in a church, auditorium or similar building. In a church, the term refers more commonly to the space flanking and parallel to the nave, usually separated from it by columns or piers (see Church, fig.).

Article

Stephen Heywood

Term applied to medieval ecclesiastical architecture and referring to the deliberate use of differing pier forms in an arcade. Alternation is found in aisled churches throughout western Europe from the 11th to the 14th century. Its purpose is to articulate internal elevations through the subdivision of the main arcades and in some instances to emphasize certain liturgically important areas. In its simplest form the alternating system consists of the use of both the column (cylindrical) and the pier (square or rectangular in section). In antiquity these two types of support had specific functions that were almost always observed: the column supported the horizontal entablature and the pier supported the arch. By the Middle Ages this rule had been abandoned, and both types of support were used for arcades....

Article

Mark Firth and Louis Skoler

Silvery white metal. The third most abundant element in the earth’s crust (after oxygen and silicon), aluminium is found only in the form of its compounds, such as alumina or aluminium oxide. Its name is derived from alumen, the Latin name for alum, and in the 18th century the French word ...

Article

Stephen Heywood

The extension of the aisles around the sanctuary of a major aisled church to form a passage or walkway. The ambulatory is found throughout western Europe, especially in France, and was particularly popular between the 11th and 13th centuries. It is often provided with radiating chapels that project from its exterior face. Its function was to provide separate access to the radiating chapels and perhaps originally to facilitate the circulation of pilgrims past relics. The ambulatory with radiating chapels was an important innovation of the ...

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Term applied to a temple with columns in porticos at both ends but not along the sides.

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Annulet  

Narrow moulding, generally one of several that are typically semicircular in section, employed as a fillet beneath the Echinus of a Doric capital (see Polychromy, colour pl. i, fig.).

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Anta  

Engaged column or pilaster terminating the side wall of a Classical building. When the columns of an end portico stand between projecting end walls terminating in antae, they are said to be in antis (see Greece, ancient, fig.a).

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Antefix  

Nancy A. Winter

[antefixum; pl. antefixes, antefixa]. Plaque closing the outer end of the final cover tile in each row of overlapping cover tiles running down from the ridge to the eaves of a sloped roof on Classical Greek and Roman and on Neo-classical buildings. Its practical functions were to prevent rain from penetrating below the cover tile and seeping through the opening between the adjacent pan tiles beneath, and to prevent wind from dislodging the row of cover tiles. Although functional in origin, the antefix soon also became a decorative element adorned with relief and/or painted decoration. The size and shape of early examples was determined by that of the cover tile, but by ...

Article

Jeffrey West

Floral ornament, typically with alternating motifs. The term first occurs in a progress report commissioned in 409 bc on the building of the Erechtheion in Athens. Although the west side of the building was refurbished by the Romans in the 1st century ad, it is probable that the unfinished column bands referred to in the report were decorated with ...

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Ancient Greek or Roman changing-room.

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Concave sweep of a Corinthian or Doric column shaft at its junction with the upper or lower Annulet. The term also refers to the curved profile of the annulets that join the Doric column shaft to the Echinus of the capital.

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Apse  

Semicircular or polygonal vaulted space, usually at the end of a basilica nave (see Church, fig.).

G. Binding: ‘Abside’, Enciclopedia dell’arte medievale, 1 (Rome, 1991), pp. 75–82 S. Ghigonetto: Storia dell’architettura medievale: Una tipologia riscoperta: Le chiese a doppia-abside: Forme e funzioni (Paris, 2000)...

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Apteral  

Term applied to a building with no columns along the sides, though it may have a portico at the front and/or back.