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words in Architecture [image]

There are so many words in architecture you may have come across one way or the other. Some are interesting, some might sound weird, some might even appear funny and one might even swear it wouldn’t have anything to do with architecture.

But wait a minute! There are ordinary words too that could actually be architectural related just that you never knew.

Do you know words like JUDAS (window in a door) and ABACUS could mean a unique thing in architecture?

Today, we will introduce you to some of these popular yet ordinary words. How cool is that?! Though you can be assured that this is neither an architectural dictionary nor an architectural reference; Nevertheless, we hope you have as well time learning and that you have fun too!

9 Popular Words You Never Knew Exist in Architecture 


A boss is a wooden or stone-like rounded projection mainly found at the top stone of an arch intersecting a rib vault. They are usually found in building ceilings.

Bosses are produced in fine detail showing outstanding features of animals, birds, realistic human faces, etc on their surfaces. These features are carved with decorative tools like heraldic devices and foliage.


Judas can be described as a wee hole or window in a door used to peep at someone at the other side without being seen. This is particularly used in prisons.


An abacus is the planar slab that constitutes the topmost element of the column’s capital. It is usually wider than the capital itself and so serves as a supporting surface as it carries the weight or load of an arch or the architrave above.


An apron in architecture or construction is a term applied to several construction elements depending on the country or trade but its major definition or description would most definitely fit a piece or trim of stonework or concrete placed adjacently, in front of or below a window sill of an interior or a garage door and will likely continue around the four walls of the building.


This is a screen made of timber used along the passage of the Great hall of an English medieval castle. It was positioned between the Great hall and service rooms by the spere.


Back in architecture refers to the main sloped beam extended from the ridge to the downslope eave, supporting the roof deck in a building.


This term in architecture, refers to an element of support made of wood, metal or stone that protrudes or extends from a wall to carry a load.

They can be either carved, casted, molded or be in the form of volutes. Categories include the corbel and the console but they also include others without a specific name.


Just as the name implies, Skin is the outer protective layer or covering of something that is inside just like the human skin or plant skin etc. but in this sense, a skin is regarded as the covering of a building in terms of physical appearance.

The skin, however plays a vital role in architectural buildings as it helps to protect whatever that is inside it be it human beings, properties and other living things - just to mention a few in collectives.

The skin could protect a living creature from unfriendly weather either hot or cold. The skin also relates with the outside environment in terms of aesthetics and it also helps to connect the form and functionality of a/or building(s).


Talking of an envelope, what comes to mind? Is it a covering, a sealing, a protector? Since an envelope in plain sense is used to put stuff like a paper or any other flat substance, what would a building envelope contain?.

You might be guessing how big it could be! Would it be made of cardboard, steel, iron, wood? I’ll tell you. But first, let’s define what a building envelope is.

A building envelope could be referred to as a restriction, separator or a limitation within a building. It demarcates the conditioned and the unconditioned part of a building.

The building envelope includes all the components that help distinguish the outdoor from the indoor. Examples include windows, doors, exterior walls, roof and foundation. These components help to keep out dust, wind, moisture (vapour or liquid), temperature extremes, etc.

Your Turn:

what do you think about these words? do you have similar words that will match this list? use the comment box below and let us know.

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