Glossary all


The acanthus is one of the most common ornaments used to depict folliage. Architectural ornaments are carved in stone or wood in the appearance of leaves from the Mediterranean acanthus spinosus plant, with some resemblance to thistle, poppy and parsley leaves. more..

Adam style

The Adam style (or Adamesque) is a style of neoclassical architecture and design as practised by Scottish architect Robert Adam (1728- 1792) and his brothers. more..


Adobe is a natural building material mixed from sand, clay, and straw, dung or other fibrous materials, which is shaped into bricks using frames and dried in the sun. It is similar to cob and mudbrick. more..

African art

African art is one of the universal cultural traditions of art that refers to every artistic artwork that originates from the continent of Africa. more..


Agate is a type of quartz (silica), chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. more..


An aisle is, in general, a space for walking with rows of seats on either side or with rows of seats on one side and a wall on the other. more..

Akrotiri (Santorini)

Akrotiri is the name of a Minoan settlement on the Greek island of Santorini. It was buried by a volcanic eruption in the 17th century BC, and as a result is remarkably well-preserved. more..


Alabaster (sometimes called satin spar) is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals: gypsum (a hydrous sulfate of calcium) and calcite (a carbonate of calcium). more..


Alto-relievo is translated from Latin as high-relief, a technique in Classical antiquity sculpture to reveal human or animal figures that project out from a solid tablet of marble or other material. more..


Amber is the common name for fossil resin or tree sap that is appreciated for its inherent and interesting mixture of colours and it is widely used for the manufacture of ornamental objects. more..

Amber Room

The original Amber Room (English sometimes Amber Chamber) in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg was a complete chamber decoration of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. more..


Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz often used as an ornament. more..


Ammolite is a rare and valuable opal-like organic gemstone found primarily along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains of the United States and Canada. more..


Ammonites are an extinct group of marine animals of the subclass Ammonoidea in the class Cephalopoda, phylum Mollusca. more..

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeastern Africa concentrated along the middle to lower reaches of the Nile River, reaching its greatest extent in the second millennium BC, during the New Kingdom. more..

Ancient Egyptian Architecture

For at least ten thousand years, the Nile valley has been the site of one of the most influential civilizations in the world which developed a vast array of diverse structures which we refer to as Ancient Egyptian architecture. more..

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. more..

Andrea della Robbia

Andrea della Robbia (October 24, 1435 - August 4, 1525) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, especially in ceramics. more..


In architecture, the apse (Latin absis "arch, vault"; sometimes written apsis; plural apses) is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault. more..


An arcade is a passage or walkway more..


An arch is a curved structure capable of spanning a space while supporting significant weight (e.g. a doorway in a stone wall). more..


The architrave (also called epistyle) is the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. more..


Arris is an architectural term that describes the sharp edge formed by the intersection of two surfaces, such as the corner of a masonry unit; the junction between two planes of plaster or any intersection of divergent architectural details. more..

Art Deco

Art Deco was a popular design movement from 1920 until 1939, affecting the decorative arts such as architecture, interior design, and industrial design, as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, the graphic arts, and film. more..

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau (French for 'new art') is an international style of art, architecture and design that peaked in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century (1880-1914) and is characterised by highly-stylised, flowing, curvilinear designs often incorporating floral and other plant-inspired motifs. more..

Arts and Crafts movement

The Arts and Crafts movement was a British and American aesthetic movement occurring in the last years of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. more..


Ashlar is dressed stone work of any type of stone. Ashlar blocks are large rectangular blocks of masonry sculpted to have square edges and even faces. more..


In architecture, an atrium (plural atria) is a large open space, often several stories high and having a glazed roof and/or large windows, often situated within an office building and usually located immediately beyond the main entrance doors. more..


Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence. more..


The azulejo refers to a typical form of Portuguese or Spanish painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework. more..


Azurite is a soft, deep blue copper mineral produced by weathering of copper ore deposits. more..


A baldachin, or baldaquin (Italian: baldacchino or baldachino), is a canopy of state over an altar or throne, It had its beginnings as a cloth canopy, but in other cases it is a sturdy, permanent architectural feature, particularly over high altars in cathedrals. more..


A baluster (through the French balustre, from Italian balaustro, from balaustra, "pomegranate flower" [from a resemblance to the post], from Lat. balaustium, from Gr. balaustion) is a moulded shaft, square or circular, in stone or wood and sometimes in metal, standing on a unifying footing and supporting the coping of a parapet or the handrail of a staircase. more..


A baradari, in Persian and Moghul architecture, is a building or room with 12 doors which is designed to allow the free draught of air through it. more..


In the arts, the Baroque was a Western cultural epoch, commencing roughly at the turn of the 17th century in Rome, that was exemplified by drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. more..

Barrel vault

A Barrel vault, also known as a tunnel vault or a wagon vault, is an architectural element formed by the extrusion of a single curve (or pair of curves, in the case of a pointed barrel vault) along a given distance. more..


The Latin word basilica (derived from Greek, Basiliké Stoà, Royal Stoa), was originally used to describe a Roman public building (as in Greece, mainly a tribunal), usually located at the center of a Roman town (forum). more..


A bay is a module in classical or Gothic architecture. more..

Bell tower

A tower containing one or more bells, typically part of a church, is a bell tower; attached to a city hall or other civil building. more..


Belvedere (occasionally Belvidere) is an architectural term adopted from Italian (literally "fair view"), which refers to any architectural structure sited to take advantage of such a view. more..

Blood diamond

In relation to diamond trading, blood diamond (also called a conflict diamond, dirty diamond or a war diamond) refers to a diamond mined in a war zone more..

Blue and white (porcelain)

Blue and white wares: white pottery and porcelain wares decorated under the glaze with a blue pigment, generally cobalt oxide. more..


Boiserie (often used in the plural boiseries) is the term to used to define ornate and intricately carved wood panelling. more..


In architecture, a boss is a knob or protrusion of stone or wood. more..


A boudoir is a lady's private bedroom, sitting room or dressing room. The term derives from the French verb bouder, meaning "to pout". more..


A bracket is an architectural member made of wood, stone, or metal that overhangs a wall to support or carry weight. more..


Breccia (Italian: breach) is a rock composed of angular fragments of rocks or minerals in a matrix, that is a cementing material, that may be similar or different in composition to the fragments. more..

Brick Gothic

Brick Gothic is a reduced style of Gothic architecture in Northern Europe, especially in the regions around the Baltic Sea without natural rock resources. more..


Brickwork masonry is produced when a bricklayer uses bricks and mortar to build up structures such as walls, bridges and chimneys. Brickwork is also used to finish openings such as doors or windows in buildings made of other materials. more..


Bronze is any of a broad range of copper alloys, usually with tin as the main additive, but sometimes with other elements such as phosphorus, manganese, aluminium, or silicon. more..

Bronze sculpture

Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a "bronze". more..


Brownstone is a brown Triassic sandstone which was once a popular building material. more..


A buttress is an architectural structure built against (a counterfort) or projecting from a wall which serves to support or reinforce the wall. more..

Byzantine architecture

Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. more..

Byzantine art

Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Eastern Roman Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. more..

Byzantine mosaics

Mosaics were more central to Byzantine culture than to that of Western Europe. Byzantine church interiors were generally covered with golden mosaics. more..


Calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner". more..


Caltagirone is a town and comune in the province of Catania, on the island (and region) of Sicily, about 70 km southwest of Catania. more..


Carthage refers both to an ancient city in Tunisia and to the civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence. more..

Ceramic glaze

A glaze is a specialised form of glass and therefore can be described as an amorphous solid. more..

Chemtou - City of Marble Mountain

Chemtou or Chimtou is an antique site in northwestern Tunisia. more..


Chinoiserie refers to a recurring theme in European artistic styles since the seventeenth century, which reflects Chinese art and is characterized by the use of fanciful imagery of an imaginary China, by asymmetry in format and whimsical contrasts of scale, and by the attempts to imitate Chinese porcelain and the use of lacquerlike materials and decoration. more..


Chrysocolla (hydrated copper silicate) is a mineral, (Cu,Al)2H2Si2O5(OH)4•nH2O. more..


The Roman Circus, the theatre and the amphitheatre were the most important buildings in the cities for public entertainment in the Roman Empire. more..


Citrine, also called citrine quartz is variety of quartz. more..


A coffer (plural: coffering) in architecture, is a sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon that serves as a decorative device, usually in a ceiling or vault. more..


In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, as in the famous elliptically curving colonnades that Bernini added to the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, which embrace and define the Piazza. more..


A column in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. more..


Copper is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Cu (Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. more..

Corinthian order

The Corinthian order (named after the city Corinth, or Korinth) is one of the Classical orders of Greek and Roman architecture, characterized by a slender fluted column and an ornate capital decorated with acanthus leaves and scrolls. more..


The term cornice comes from Italian cornice, meaning "ledge." more..


Cosmatesque style is a style of floor making typical of Medieval era Italy, and especially of Rome and its surroundings. more..


The Cosmati were a Roman family, seven members of which, for four generations, were skilful architects, sculptors and workers in mosaic. more..


The Cotswolds is a range of hills in west-central England, sometimes called the "Heart of England", an area 25 miles (40 km) across and 90 miles (145 km) long. more..

Crow-stepped gable

A Crow-stepped gable is a stair-step type of design at the top of the triangular gable-end of a building. more..


In Ancient Roman architecture a cryptoporticus (from Latin crypta and porticus) is a covered corridor or passageway. more..


In architecture, a cupola consists of a dome-shaped or quadrilateral-shaped ornamental structure located on top of a larger roof or dome, often used as a lookout or to admit light and provide ventilation. more..


Cupronickel is an alloy of copper, nickel and strengthening impurities, such as iron and manganese. more..


Decoupage (or découpage) is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cut outs onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf, etc. more..


Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. more..


Diamond is an allotrope of carbon. more..

Doge of Venice

For about a thousand years, the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice was styled the Doge (in ven. Doxe), a rare but not unique Italian title derived from the Latin Dux, as the major Italian parallel Duce and the English Duke. more..

Doric order

One of the three orders or organisational systems of Ancient Greek or classical architecture characterised by columns which stood on the flat pavement of a temple without a base more..

Dry stone

Dry stone is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. more..


Earthenware is a common ceramic material, which is used extensively for pottery tableware and decorative objects. more..


An eave is the edge of a roof. more..

Ecclesiastical Architecture

Church architecture or ecclesiastical architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. more..


Egg-and-dart is an ornamental device often carved in wood, stone, or plaster quarter-round ovolo mouldings, consisting of an egg-shaped object alternating with an element shaped like an arrow, anchor or dart. more..


Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl, colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. more..


A facade or façade is generally one side of the exterior of a building, especially the front, but also sometimes the sides and rear. more..


Fachwerk is a German term that often describes timber-framed buildings in general, but refers in particular to a certain kind of wall framing with small square panels more..

Ferranti’s Deptford Power Station

This supplement is extracted extensively from a pamphlet published by the CEGB in 1986 entitled “Cradle of Power – The Story of Deptford Power Stations” and written by Rob Cochrane. more..


The finial is an architectural device, typically carved in stone and employed to decoratively emphasise the apex of a gable, or any of various distinctive ornaments at the top, end, or corner of a building or structure more..

Forum (Roman)

The Forum was the public space in the middle of a Roman city. more..


A traditional fountain is an arrangement where water issues from a source (Latin fons), fills a basin of some kind, and is drained away. more..


Fresco (plural either frescos or frescoes) is any of several related painting types. more..


Fritware is a type of pottery more..


Garnet is a group of minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. more..


Geison (often interchangeable with somewhat broader term Cornice) is an architectural term of relevance particularly to ancient Greek and Roman buildings, as well as archaeological publications of the same. more..


A gemstone, gem or also called precious or semi-precious stone is a highly attractive and valuable piece of mineral, which — when cut and polished — is used in jewelry or other adornments. more..


Gilding is the art of applying a thin layer of gold or something simulating gold to a surface. more..

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 - March 27, 1770) more..

Gold leaf

Gold leaf is gold that is beaten into extremely thin sheets. more..

Gothic architecture

Gothic architecture is a style of architecture which flourished in Europe during the high and late medieval period. more..

Gothic Revival architecture

The Gothic Revival was an architectural movement which originated in mid-18th century England. more..

Greco Deco

Greco deco is a term coined by art historian James Goode to describe a style of art and architecture popularized in the late 1920s and 1930s. more..

Greek temple

Greek temples differed from their Roman counterparts in that the colonnade formed a peristyle around the whole structure, rather than merely a porch at the front; and also in that the Greek temple was not raised above ground level on a high podium, but rather stairs on either end. more..


When used in conversation, grotesque commonly means strange, fantastic, ugly or bizarre, and thus is often used to describe weird shapes and distorted forms such as Halloween masks or gargoyles on churches. more..


Hamstone is the colloquial name given to stone from Ham Hill, Somerset, England. more..


Hematite, also spelled hæmatite, is the mineral form of Iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3), one of several iron oxides. more..

Henbury Hall

The 18th century Henbury Hall, near Macclesfield in Cheshire, was demolished by Sir Vincent de Ferranti when he bought the estate in 1957. more..

Hispanic-Moorish style (Moorish architecture)

Construction of the Great Mosque at Cordoba (now a Christian Cathedral) beginning in 785 AD marks the beginning of Islamic architecture in the Iberian peninsula and North Africa (see Moors). more..


A hypocaust is an ancient Roman system of central heating. more..

I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura

I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture) was published in 1570, in four volumes written by the architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), whose name is identified with an architectural movement named after him known as Palladian architecture. more..


The impluvium is the sunken part of the atrium in a Greek or Roman house (domus). more..

Incan architecture

Inca architecture is the most significant pre-Columbian architecture in South America. more..

Indo-Islamic (Mughal) architecture

Another distinctive sub-style is the architecture of the Mughal Empire in India in the 16th century and a fusion of Arabic, Persian and Hindu elements. more..

Ionic order

The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian. more..

Isabelline Gothic

Isabelline Gothic (in Spanish, Gótico Isabelino), is the name of an architectural style that was developed in Spain, during Isabella of Castile reign (1474 to 1505). more..

Ishtar Gate

The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. more..

Islamic architecture

Islamic architecture has encompassed a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures within the sphere of Islamic culture. more..

Islamic calligraphy

Islamic calligraphy (calligraphy in Arabic is Khatt ul-Yad) is an aspect of Islamic art that has evolved alongside the religion of Islam and the Arabic language. more..

Iznik pottery

Iznik pottery, named after the town in western Anatolia where it was made, is highly decorated ceramics whose heyday was the late sixteenth century. more..


A jali (or jaali) is the term for a perforated stone or latticed screen, usually with an ornamental pattern constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry. more..


Jasper is an opaque, impure variety of quartz, usually red, yellow or brown in color. more..


The Jurassic Period is a major unit of the geologic timescale that extends from about 199.6 ± 0.6 Ma (million years ago) to 145.4 ± 4.0 Ma, the end of the Triassic to the beginning of the Cretaceous. more..

Lapis lazuli

Lapis lazuli (sometimes abbreviated to lapis) is a semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense blue colour. more..

Lead came and copper foil glasswork

Lead came and Copper foil glasswork are the arts and crafts of cutting colored glass and joining the pieces into picturesque designs. more..


Limestone often contains variable amounts of silica in the form of chert or flint, as well as varying amounts of clay, silt and sand as disseminations, nodules, or layers within the rock. more..

Limestone - Uses

Limestone is especially popular in architecture, and many landmarks around the world, especially in North America and Europe, are made primarily of the material. more..


The Louvre (French: Musée du Louvre) in Paris, France, is the most visited and one of the oldest, largest, and most famous art galleries and museums in the world. more..


Malachite is a carbonate mineral, copper(II) carbonate hydroxide Cu2CO3(OH)2. more..

Mamluk architecture

The reign of the Mamluks (1250-1517 AD) marked a breathtaking flowering of Islamic art which is most visible in old Cairo. more..


Marble is a nonfoliated metamorphic rock resulting from the metamorphism of limestone, composed mostly of calcite (a crystalline form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3). more..

Marble sculpture

Marble sculpture is the art of creating three-dimensional forms from marble. more..


Mashrabiya, Shanashil is the Arabic term given to a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework located on the second storey of a building or higher, often lined with stained glass. more..


In chemistry, a metal (Greek: Metallon) is an element that readily loses electrons to form positive ions (cations) and has metallic bonds between metal atoms. more..

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, often referred to simply as "the Met", is one of the world's largest and most important art museums. more..


The mica group of sheet silicate minerals includes several closely related materials having highly perfect basal cleavage. more..

Micro mosaic

Micro mosaics are a special form of the mosaic arts that utilize unusually small mosaic components to craft what often are extraordinarily complex and detailed patterns or images. more..


A mineral is a naturally occurring substance formed through geological processes that has a characteristic chemical composition, a highly ordered atomic structure and specific physical properties. more..

Modern Islamic architecture

Modern Islamic architecture has recently been taken on to a whole new level with such buildings being erected such as the Burj Dubai, which is soon to be the world's tallest building. more..

Modern mosaics

A modern example of mosaic is the Museum of Natural History station of the New York Subway. more..

Monolithic architecture

Monolithic architecture is a style of construction in which a building is carved, cast or excavated from a single piece of material. more..

Moorish architecture

Construction of the Great Mosque at Cordoba (now a Christian Cathedral) beginning in 785 AD marks the beginning of Islamic architecture in the Iberian peninsula and North Africa (see Moors). more..

Moroccan style

Moroccan style is a new trend in decoration. more..


Mosaic is the art of decoration with small pieces of colored glass, stone or other material. more..

Mosaics - Medieveal Rome

Christian mosaic art also flourished in Late Antique and medieval Rome. more..

Mosaics - Western and Central Europe

Beyond the Alpes the first important example of mosaic art was the decoration of the Palatine Chapel in Aachen, commissioned by Charlemagne. more..

Moss agate

Moss agate (also called mocha stone) is a semi-precious gemstone formed from silicon dioxide. more..

Mother of Pearl

Mother of pearl, also known as Nacre , is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks. more..

Mughal architecture

Mughal architecture is the distinctive style of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture. more..


Nacre, also known as mother of pearl, is an organic-inorganic composite material produced by some mollusks. more..

Neolithic architecture

Neolithic architecture is the architecture of the Neolithic period. more..


Obsidian is a type of naturally-occurring glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock. more..

Opus reticulatum

Opus reticulatum (also known as reticulated work) is a form of brickwork that uses diamond-shaped bricks of tufa that are placed around a core of opus caementicium. more..

Opus sectile

Opus sectile refers to an art technique popularized in Rome where materials were cut and inlaid into walls and floors to make a picture or pattern. more..

Opus tessellatum

Opus tessellatum refers to a type of mosaic made from tesserae. more..

Organic architecture

Organic architecture is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world through design approaches so sympathetic and well integrated with its site that buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition. more..

Ottoman Turkish architecture

The most numerous and largest of mosques exist in Turkey, which obtained influence from Byzantine, Persian and Syrian-Arab designs. more..

Palladian architecture

Palladian architecture is a European style of architecture derived from the designs of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). more..


Patina is a coating of various chemical compounds such as oxides or carbonates formed on the surface of metal during exposure to weathering. more..


A pebble is a clast of rock with a particle size of 4 to 64 millimeters based on the Krumbein phi scale of sedimentology. more..


A pediment is a [assical architecture|classical architectural]] element consisting of the triangular section found above the horizontal structure (entablature), typically supported by columns. more..


Peridot (pronounced "pair-i-dot" or "pair-i-doe", IPA: /p???d?t/ or Fr. /pe?ido/) is the gem quality variety of forsteritic olivine. more..

Persian architecture

One of the first civilizations that Islam came into contact with during and after its birth was that of Persia. more..

Persian calligraphy

Persian calligraphy is the calligraphy of Persian writing system. more..

Persian Empire

The Persian Empire was a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the old Persian homeland, and beyond in Western Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus. more..


Phoenicia was an ancient civilization centered in the north of ancient Canaan, with its heartland along the coast of modern day Lebanon and Syria. more..


A piazza is an open square in a city, found in Italy, and also in some other places on the Dalmatian coast and in surrounding regions. more..

Pietre dure

Pietre dure (or Parchin kari, in south Asia) is an art-historical term for the technique of using small, exquisitely cut and fitted, highly-polished colored stones to create what amounts to a painting in stone. more..


A pigment is a material that changes the color of light it reflects as the result of selective color absorption. more..


A pilaster, as used in architecture, is a slightly-projecting column built into or onto a wall. more..


Plateresque refers to the 15th and 16th century art form in Spain, characterized by an ornate style of architecture. more..


A plinth is the base of a cabinet in cabinet making. more..


A porch is a platform structure attached at the front or back entrance of a building. more..


A portico is a porch that is leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. more..

Post and lintel

Post and lintel (also called an Architrave) is a simple construction technique, also called "post and beam", where a horizontal member (the lintel) is supported by two vertical posts at either end. more..


A Propylaea, Propylea or Propylaia (in Greek) is any monumental gateway based on the original Propylaea that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. more..

Pygmalion (mythology)

Pygmalion is a legendary figure found in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pygmalion is a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has made. more..


The mineral pyrite, or iron pyrite, is iron sulfide, FeS2. more..


A quarry is a type of open-pit mine from which rock or minerals are extracted. more..


Quartz is the second most common mineral in the Earth's continental crust, feldspar being the first. more..


Rayonnant is a term used to a period in the French Gothic architectural style circa 1240-1350. more..

Reflecting pool

A reflecting pool is a structure often used in memorials. more..

Repoussé and chasing

Repoussé is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side. more..


A rock is a naturally occurring aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids. more..

Rock cut architecture

Rock-cut architecture is the practice of creating buildings by carving natural rock. more..


A style of 18th century French art and interior design, Rococo style rooms were designed as total works of art with elegant and ornate furniture, small sculptures, ornamental mirrors, and tapestry complementing architecture, reliefs, and wall paintings. more..

Roman bridge

Roman bridges, built by ancient Romans, were the first large and lasting bridges built. For a list, see Bridges in Rome. more..

Roman theatre

A Roman theatre is a theatre building built by the Romans more..

Rose quartz

Rose quartz is a type of quartz which exhibits a pale pink to rose red hue. more..


A rosette is a round, stylized flower design, used extensively in sculptural objects from antiquity. more..


A rotunda is any building with a circular ground plan, often covered by a dome. more..


Ruby is a light pink to blood red gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). more..


Rustication is an architectural term that contrasts with ashlar, smoothly finished, squared block masonry surfaces. more..


Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains. more..


Santorini is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km south-east from Greece's mainland. more..

Sawley Abbey

Sawley Abbey was an abbey of Cistercian monks in the village of Sawley, Lancashire, in Great Britain. more..


A sconce is a type of light fixture affixed to a wall in such a way that it uses only the wall for support, and the light is usually directed upwards. more..


A sculpture is a man-made three-dimensional object intended for special recognition as art. A person that creates sculptures is called a sculptor. more..


Sgraffito ("scratched", plural Scraffiti and often also written Scraffito) is a technique either of wall decor, produced by applying layers of plaster tinted in contrasting colors to a moistened surface, or in ceramics, by applying to an unfired ceramic body two successive layers of contrasting slip, and then in either case scratching so as to produce an outline drawing. more..


The Shikumen or literally "stone gate" is a style of housing in Shanghai, China, which blended features of east and west. In the past up to 80% of the city's population lived in these types of houses, but today the proportion is much lower. more..


Sikhara, a Sanskrit word translating literally to "mountain peak", refers to the rising tower in the Hindu temple architecture of North India. more..

Sino-Islamic architecture

The first Chinese mosque was established in the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty in Xi'an. more..


Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous, metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low grade regional metamorphism. more..

Solomonic column

The Solomonic column, also called Barley-sugar column, is a helical column, characterized by a spiraling twisting shaft like a corkscrew. more..


A spandrel (less often spandril or splaundrel) is the space between two arches or between an arch and a rectangular enclosure. more..

Spanish Colonial Revival Style architecture

The Spanish Colonial Revival Style was a United States architectural movement that came about in the early 20th century after the opening of the Panama Canal and the overwhelming success of the novel Ramona. Based on the Spanish Colonial style architecture that dominated in the early Spanish colonies of both North and South America, Spanish Colonial Revival updated these forms for a new century. more..

St. Peter's baldacchino

St. Peter's baldacchino is a large sculpted bronze artwork designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and located over the high altar of the Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City. more..

Stained glass

The term stained glass refers either to the material of coloured glass or to the art and craft of working with it. Throughout its thousand-year history the term "stained glass" was applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches, cathedrals and other significant buildings. more..


Stairs, staircase, stairway, and flight of stairs are all names for a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps. more..


A statue is a sculpture depicting a specific entity, usually a person, event, animal or object. Its primary concern is representational. more..


Stepwells (bawdi) are in essence wells in which the water can be reached by descending a set of steps. more..

Stone carving

One carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. more..


Stoneware is a category of clay and a type of ceramic distinguished primarily by its firing and maturation temperature (from about 1200°C to 1315 °C). more..


Stucco is a material made of an aggregate, a binder, and water which is applied wet, and hardens when it dries. more..

Sub-Saharan African Islamic architecture

In West Africa, Islamic merchants played a vital role in the Western Sahel region since the Kingdom of Ghana. more..


The Sudano-Sahelian is an architectural style common in the Sahel. more..


Sugilite (also known as luvulite) is a relatively rare pink to purple cyclosilicate mineral with the complex chemical formula: KNa2(Fe,Mn,Al)2Li3Si12O30. more..

Synagogue architecture

Unlike other types of religious architecture where worship buildings often conform to consistent rules for a given architectural period such as the cruciform plan of Gothic churches, or beehive-shaped shikaras of Hindu temple architecture, dominant styles and periods are not present in the history of synagogue architecture. more..


Tadelakt is a bright, nearly waterproof lime plaster which can be used on the inside of buildings and on the outside. more..


Derived from the Ancient Greek tainia : "band" or "ribbon", taenia is the latin word for a small "fillet" molding near the top of the architrave in a Doric column. more..


Tapestry is a form of textile art. It is woven by hand on a vertical loom. more..


A temple (from the Latin word templum) is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. more..

Terra cotta

Terra cotta (Italian: "baked earth") is a ceramic. more..


A tessera (plural: tesserae, diminutive tessella) is an individual tile in a mosaic, usually formed in the shape of a cube. Also known as an abaciscus, abaculus. more..

Tiger iron

Tiger iron is an altered rock composed chiefly of tiger's eye, red jasper and black hematite. The undulating, contrasting bands of colour and luster make for an attractive motif, and it is mainly used for jewelry-making and ornamentation. more..

Tiger's eye

Tiger's eye (also Tigers eye, Tiger eye) is a chatoyant gemstone that is usually yellow- to red-brown, with a silky luster. more..


The tourmaline mineral group is chemically one of the most complicated groups of silicate minerals. Its composition varies widely because of isomorphous replacement (solid solution). more..


Tracery is a series of intersecting ribs used in Gothic architecture, especially windows and, in the Perpendicular style of Gothic, vaulting. more..


Triglyph is an architectural term for the vertically channeled tablets of the Doric frieze, so called because of the angular channels in them, two perfect and one divided, the two chamfered angles or hemiglyphs being reckoned as one. more..

Triumphal arch

A triumphal arch is a structure in the shape of a monumental archway, in theory built to celebrate a victory in war, actually used to celebrate a ruler. more..


Trompe-l'œil is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects really exist, instead of being mere, two-dimensional paintings. more..

Turkistan (Timurid) architecture

Timurid architecture is the pinnacle of Islamic art in Central Asia. more..


Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8•4H2O. more..


A tympanum (plural, tympana) is the semi-circular or triangular decorative wall surface over an entrance bounded by a lintel and arch. It often contains sculptures or other ornaments. more..


A Vault (French. voute, Italian. volta, German. Gewölbe, Polish. sklepienie) is an architectural term for an arched form used to provide a space with a ceiling or roof. The parts of a vault exert a thrust that require a counter resistance. more..


A verandah or veranda is a roofed opened gallery or porch. It is also described as an open pillared gallery, generally roofed, built around a central structure. more..


Viaduct is a bridge composed of several small spans. The term viaduct is derived from the Latin via for road and duco to lead something. more..

Victorian house

A Victorian house as built in the United States and Canada is a type of house popularized in the Victorian era. more..


A villa was originally an upper-class country house, though since its origins in Roman times the idea and function of a villa has evolved considerably. more..

Villa Adriana

The Hadrian's Villa (Villa Adriana in Italian) is a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy. more..

Villa Foscari

Villa Foscari is a patrician villa in Mira, near Venice, northern Italy, designed by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio. more..


A volute is a spiral scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, found in the capital of the Ionic column. more..


A voussoir is a wedge-shaped element, typically a stone, used in building an arch. more..

Water feature

In landscape architecture and garden design, a water feature is any of a full range of fountains, pools, ponds, cascades, waterfalls, and streams. more..

William Morris

William Morris (March 24, 1834 – October 3, 1896) was an English artist, writer, socialist and activist. more..


Zellige (also Zellidj, Zillij, Zellij) is terra cotta tilework covered with enamel in the form of chips set into plaster. more..

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