Glossary of Terms
The following terms have been used in the text of this document and
are briefly described here.
A moveable wall partitioning system comprised of slender fabric or wood
covered vertical fins connected with flexible material in a zig zag
pattern and designed to open and close like the baffles of an accordion.
Banister (or baluster)
A handrail for a staircase.
A curved structural vaulting system with a semi-circular cross section.
An important school of art, craft and architecture (originating in an arts
and crafts school in Weimar in 1906) and influential building in Dessau
Germany, designed by Walter Gropius in 1925-26 (closed in 1932) critical
to the origins and spread of the Modern Movement.
The regularly spaced primary structural module of a building.
A polygonal projecting element from the wall surface, usually an extension
of the internal floor level and containing windows.
The shaped relief profile usually a piece of wooden finish material or
cladding either at its mid point or at the edge joint of a tongue and
A shaping of the topography to create a level area (bench) on a sloping
site, usually as the location for a building's foundation or a level
Board and batten
A cladding system where the joints between vertical wooden boards, often
rough cut, are covered by slender wooden boards or battens.
A term coined in the UK in 1954 for a type of modernist architecture
characterized by the extensive use of concrete (from the French beton
brut, for concrete).
Butterfly (roof shape)
A roof shape where two shallow pitched planes meet at a low intersection
and project upwards towards the edge of the building.
Sloped or shaped.
A horizontal projection, usually of a roof or structural element beyond
its support or fulcrum point.
Wooden siding milled with a rectangular groove, or channel, usually next
to the edge where the board meets the adjacent board in a overlapping
A window or band of connected windows high on a wall, often just below the
A projecting decorative elements at the top of the wall surface; the
uppermost part of an entablature, which is composed of an architrave, a
fascia and a cornice.
A brand of English steel framed windows often with fixed or casement sash;
frequently associated with the slender horizontal banding of strip windows
characteristic of much Modern Movement architecture.
A system of wall cladding largely made up of glass and metal (steel,
aluminum or bronze) which is attached to the exterior of a building's
framing like a skin or curtain; it is usually not structural, save for its
ability carry its own weight.
The horizontal projection of a roof beyond the wall.
A finish of concrete, often paving or wall cladding, where the outer layer
of concrete is removed by mechanical means to expose the stone aggregate
as a decorative finish, with a pebbled effect.
An aspect of Modern Movement architecture where the building structure is
expressed in a deliberate way, often in experimental roof forms.
The narrow horizontal trim band usually found at the roof edge.
The pattern and rhythm of windows in a facade
Folded plate (Bent Plate) roof shape
A system of roof framing characterized by flat planes being folded or bent
to form a zig zag shape in elevation and cross section.
Form-cast (cast in place) concrete
A concrete structural system where cement is poured into molds or formwork
and allowed to harden (cure). As distinct from pre-cast concrete.
The tapering of the thickness of a floor structure (often concrete) to a
slender edge which is a visible and intentional design element emphasizing
slimness and horizontality.
A term coined by the exhibit of the same name at the Museum of Modern Art
in New York City in 1932 for the modern architecture emerging in Europe
between the wars. The style is noted for its cubic forms, lack of
decoration or mouldings, flat roofs, horizontal bands of windows and
Laminated (GluLam) beam
A system of engineered structural timber beams manufactured with layers of
wood glued together (laminated) for strength, economy and the ability to
span long distances.
Born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1887-1966), Le Corbusier (or Corbu) was
one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, noted for his
buildings, planning and furniture design.
A system of concrete construction where one floor slab is used as the base
formwork for another which is poured on top. The various layers are then
lifted into place usually supported by a steel framing system.
The shape of a floor plan which tapers to the edges.
A design award program established in 1950, under the auspices of Governor
General Massey and conferred on notable works of architecture until 1970.
A style of late modernist architecture, often found on the West Coast,
where modern wooden shapes are evocative of the vertical shaft heads of
mining and industrial buildings.
A roof shape characterized by an inclined slope in one direction.
Very small ceramic or glass tiles used to form a decorative pattern.
A support member between adjacent windows.
A slender division bar between two panes of glass in a window sash.
The vertical projection of a wall above the adjacent roof level.
An arch in the shape of a parabola.
Paraboloid (roof shape)
A roof form which is a parabola in cross section.
A flat vertical decorative element slightly protruding from the wall
surface; often an expression of the internal structural bay system of a
building, although not necessarily performing any structural work.
The base or plinth of a building, often expressed as a horizontal plane
extending beyond the building's structure.
Post and beam
A system of timber construction making use of a regular framework of
slender vertical columns and horizontal beams, the spaces on the exterior
often being filled with sheets of glass or wooden cladding.
Concrete pieces of a building's structure manufactured off site in a
controlled environment and brought to the site for assembly by mechanical
means. Distinct from cast-in-place concrete.
Glass panels formed with a narrow linear pattern of ribs or reeds to
obscure visibility while admitting light.
A system heating often used for in-floor heating, where tubes are cast
into the concrete floor slab into which hot water is pumped to warm the
A concept of design holding that "there exist in certain regional
"schools" whose primary aim has been to reflect and serve the
limited constituencies in which they are grounded" (Frampton, Modern
Architecture: A Critical History).
Slab on Grade
Concrete floor slab cast directly onto grade.
The non structural wall area usually below a window, sometimes of glass to
resemble the overall window pattern.
A form of building design where one level is a half level above or below
another and connected by short flights of stairs.
The grouping of windows into horizontal strips to give a linear effect,
characteristic of modern architecture.
A highly polished cast-in-place marble and aggregate concrete floor
material; a variety of speckled patterns and colours are possible.
The horizontal window area above a large window, door.
The external non-load bearing skin of a building made of brick (or
Building forms based on local precedent, materials and building
traditions, usually not formally designed.