11/27/11

Voussoirs, lunettes, oh my

I love architectural words. Cornice, pediment, dado, spandrel, blind arch — house porn meets thesaurus porn. It’s fetishistic, like technobabble or car talk. And I get frustrated when I don’t know the term for some architectural item.

So I was happy to happen upon this page about architecture in Ontario. It has a lovely lot of building terms, with pictures of everything. Ever wonder what to call the doohickey at the bottom of the spring of an arch? It’s a kneestone (and who knew that that bit was called the spring?) The ornamental parapet-thing on the front of a building, hiding the roof? A fractable. I espcially like the word for a fancy, raised element (usually a doorway) on the facade of a building — frontispiece.

(I paused at the description of Brutalism as “attractive”. Breauty is in the eye of the beholder? Though the Brutalist house, surrounded by trees, is very nice, I think. It looks clean and relaxed, and natural, like an updated cave.)