A Glossary of Architecture Terms for Interior Designers

July 17, 2012 General, Interior Design 1 Comments

Glossary of Architectural TermsTo design, you need an understanding of how a room is made and structured. You have to know what materials you’re working with if you’re painting the walls or carpeting a floor. You need to be able to describe building structures to clients or suppliers. And you might even have to use a few measurement equations that correspond to how a room was built.

That’s why if you’re thinking about trying your hand at the dynamic world of interior design, you’ll have to pick up a few architectural terms along the way. This list will start you out with the basics. Use these terms to build up your architecture lexicon, and then add to it as you continue your education at an interior design school or on your own.

Aggregate: Various hard, inert materials (such as sand, crushed stone or gravel) added to cement to make mortar, concrete or plaster.

Brace: Structural member that reinforces a beam, column or truss.

Casement: Window with a sash and hinges on one side that allows it to open, typically outward.

Chamfer: To round off or bevel a right-angled corner.

Facade: A building’s front.

Flashing: Strips used to cover and protect angles/joints and to prevent water leakage. Usually made of sheet metal, lead, copper or tin.

Foyer: A house’s entrance hall.

Gable: Triangular wall between the slopes of a building’s roof.

Grade: Level at earth’s surface.

Jalousies: Adjustable glass louvers in windows or doors that regulate light/air and prohibit rain.

Keystone: The topmost and central brick or stone of an archway.

Load-bearing partition: Structural interior wall that supports a floor or roof vertically.

Louver: Ventilator that’s slatted and pitched to keep out moisture.

Molding: Piece that covers construction joists or edges. It’s usually a narrow strip of wood and may be decorative.

Mullion: Vertical framing on a window that divides it into major sections.

Newel: Vertical post that a winding staircase wraps around; post at a staircase’s top or bottom that supports the handrail.

Offset: Ledge formed by differing thicknesses in a wall.

Plastic laminate: Thin plastic sheet material for finishing off interior millwork.

Pre-stressed concrete: Concrete reinforcement that’s stressed before it sets and then relieved of the tension when it has hardened to give it strength.

Quoin: A building’s external corner; any of the large square stones that mark a corner.

Reinforcement: A system of steel rods cast into concrete for accepting stresses.

Stucco: Plaster made from Portland cement, water and sand; used as an exterior wall surface finish.

Stud: A vertical metal or wood framing member where sheathing and finished surfaces are nailed; supporting elements in walls or partitions.

Terra Cotta: A hard clay product that’s typically used for exterior ornamenting; can be glazed or unfinished.

Terrazzo: A hard-wearing floor finish made from small pieces of colored marble or stone and embedded in cement and polished with a high glaze.

Threshold: Strip of stone, wood or metal that’s placed beneath a door in order to cover a change in floor materials and to receive weather-stripping.

Wall-bearing construction: Structural system where the floor and roof are carried directly by the masonry walls rather than by a structural framing system.


Eric Ruiz July 18, 2012 at 03:28 PM

A glossary of terms is a great way to introduce a topic of interest and develope a vocabulary to communicate ideas.

What do you think?