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Dundee University - The Urban Conservation Glossary
Category: Architecture and Buildings > Urban conservation
Date & country: 16/01/2008, UK
Words: 876


Abacus
the flat slab which sits on top of a capital. See Classical Architecture.

Abbey
a monastery where, either monks live, governed by an abbot, or in the case of nuns, governed by an abbess. See Church Design

Abrasive
involves using abrasive tools, needle guns, discs and cones, all of which basically involve dressing back the surface of the stone. See stone cleaning.

Abut
one thing is said to abut another where it touches, but is not actually tied in, this can vary from buildings forming a terrace to a structural member such as a piece of timber the end of which has simply been planted against another part of the structure

Abutment
solid support absorbing the outward thrust of the arch. (Illustration)

Acanthus leaf
a design based on the leaf of the acanthus plant, much used in the decoration of Greek, Roman and Renaissance capitals. There were subtle differences between the three.

Accepted risks
risk factors which, in the course of a building contract, are the responsibility of the client rather than the contractor, for example, these could include unforseen problems relating to the structure of the building which is the subject of the contract, or to problems which could arise t...

Acro prop
basically, an expanding scaffolding pole, much used in support work eg propping up a fractured lintel.

Acroterion
ornament, usually pointed, for example in the shape of a pinnacle, but can be in form of plinths and statues, on the apex or at the ends of a pediment.

Adamstyle
(Illustrations) - the architectural style based on the work of Robert Adam, 1728-1792, and two of his brothers, John and James. For much of his career, Adam enjoyed extremely important patronage, was the predominant architect in Britain in the latter part of the 18th century and was extreme...

Adamstyle Illustrations
The centre section of Charlotte Square Edinburgh. Designed by Adam in 1791, late in his career. It was very influential on later Edinburgh New Town Building. Note the trademark large, intricate fanlight. (Detail). Note the assured use of detail, particularly the swags or festoons on...

Additionality
occurs where too much public money is earmarked for a project, usually due to the fact that it is eligible for assistance from more than one source. In this event an offer might not be made, or might be withdrawn, or percentages reduced. Leverage means quite literally, ...

Additive
a small quantity of material added to another to change its characteristics, eg to change its colour or to make it harden more quickly.

Advertisement control
advertisements can take many forms, awnings, blinds, hanging signs, hoardings, placards etc - all have an impact on their surroundings. Control is exercised through the Control of Advertisement Regulations which, like most planning legislation differs between England and Scotland. Broadly spe...

Adze
a tool for shaping wood, which is basically an axe with a curved blade, pointing inwards at right angles to the handle. In skilled hands the adze can achieve a very smooth surface. It was used not just for shaping long timbers such as roof beams, but for furniture building ranging from tab...

Adze Illustrations
An adze being used to shape timber. (Detail)

Aedicule
an opening framed by two columns an entablature, and usually a pediment, placed against a wall, often containing a statue. Can contain a door ie aediculed doorway. (Illustration) (Illustration in context)

Aggregate
material such as sand or small stones mixed with a binder (usually cement) to produce mortars and concrete.

Agrement Certificate
a certificate awarded by The British Board of Agrement an independant advisory body, who can certify that a specific material, usually a new product for which a British Standard doesn't exist, is fit for purpose. Originating in France Agrement (approval) Boards exist throughout Europe. At p...

Aisle
passages flanking the nave and choir, separated from them by arcades. See Church Design

Alabaster
a fine-grained variety of gypsum, white, yellowish white or reddish brown and translucent, it was cut into thin laminae, and used for church windows in the Middle Ages. Latterly, easily carved, it was used for internal decorative sculpture.

Alley - Score - Shute
a term used to describe almost any narrow road or walkway, implies something away from main roads ie back alley. There are a huge nimber of regional variations in the names given to them, 'scores' and 'shutes' are two which are reasonably common. These routes are important because very of...

Altar
originally a structure on which offerings to a god were placed, often for sacrifice. In the Christian Church, the altar is often in the form of a stone table, can be elaborately carved, and containing relics.

Ambulatory
a covered way for walking. A roofed passageway, enclosing the apse, and linking the aisles which flank the nave. See Church Design

Analytical recording
a level of recording which is designed to raise awareness of the building's previous history, its most important features both structural and decorative, and what in the building which must, at all costs, be preserved.

Anastylosis
the practice of piecing together dismembered remains of buildings.

Anchor Plate-Tie Plate-Tie Bars
a plate, usually metal, on the face of a wall over which the ends of structural iron reinforcements (tie bars) are bolted or pegged. Sometimes referred to as tie plates, they are often quite decorative. There are examples of timber being used for this purpose, in clay and earth buildings. ...

Anchor Plates Illustrations
Anchor plate at New Lanark (Detail) A timber anchor plate on a clay building. (Detail)

Ancient - Guardianship monument
-(Illustration) - The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 defines a monument as, 'any building, structure or work, whether above or below the surface of the land, and any cave or excavation' or any site comprising the remains of such thing

Ancient Monuments Society
founded in 1924, this society was formed to save historic buildings of all ages and types. Main function is to advise planning authorities in England and Wales who must consult the society on all applications involving the demolition of listed buildings. Society runs an information servi...

Angle of repose
the angle to which the side of a heap of any material eg earth or gravel deposited on level ground, will eventually settle. It follows that, if for some reason, for example in landscaping work, the angle of repose is exceeded, support will be required.

Annealing
the process of cooling glass slowly and evenly, to eliminate stresses, which build up during manufacture.

Annuality
the term used to describe the timescale of the financial year, 1st April - 31st March. This is relevant to conservation, because most public sector money in the form of grants, without which, a great deal of conservation work simply would not happen, must be spent and the work approved befo...

Annulet
a ring around the shaft of a column.

Anodised
a process in which metal is treated by electrolysis to produce a weather-resistant protective finish. Can vary in colour. Anodised aluminium is frequently used in window frames, shopfronts etc

Antifixae-Greek Tiles
ornamental blocks on the edge of a roof, usually set at regular intervals, concealing the ends of tiles or roll joints. They are sometimes refered to as 'Greek Tiles'.

Apron
a raised panel below a window-sill, (usually smooth if wall is harled) sometimes shaped and decorated. Can also describe a vertical flashing below for example, a dormer window.

Apse
a semicircular extension to a room or hall, usually vaulted. (Illustration) of the apse of Leuchars church. See Church Design

Arabesque
a term used to describe ornamental panels of Arabian design which can be carved or painted, and which contain various symbolic elements, usually human or animal, combined with foliage. The best examples are found among the art and architecture of the Spanish Moors. Since the seventeenth ce...

Arboretum
a collection of trees grown as specimens (see Pinetum)

Arbour
a small garden shelter primarily designed for sheltering from the sun and coming in a wide variety of forms.

Arcade
a row of arches carried on piers, columns or pilasters, either free-standing, or decoratively attached to a wall ie blind. Also refers to a covered passage with shops on one or both sides. (Illustration) (Illustration) of a blind arcade.

Arcade Illustrations
Braco's Banking House, an arcaded shop, with living quarters above. High Street Elgin, 1684. A once common building type in larger Scottish Burghs, this is now a rare survivor. High Street Elgin, 1694

Arch
a structure usually of wedge-shaped blocks, constructed to span an opening or void in such a way that the downward thrust of the weight above, is converted to an outward movement which is resisted by any suitable means, usually a solid mass of masonry. The individual wedge- shaped blocks are...

Arch Terminology
A: Abutment B: Crown C: Extrados D: Haunch E: Impost F: Intrados G: Keystone Keystone Detail (illustration) H: Rise I: Span J: Spandrel K: Springer L: Voussoir - see Bridge Case Study. - see Arch.

Archaeology
the scientific study of ancient or historic physical remains of human activity, both above and below ground. This is related to but different from history, the study of documentary evidence of the human past, and palaeontology, the study of fossil plants and animals. Archaeology can include q...

Architect's instructions (AIs)
instructions issued by an architect, first verbally and then confirmed in writing to a site agent as work progresses on site and, as inevitably happens, questions arise over details and specifications. see Contracts/Contracting

Architectural Heritage Fund
established in 1976, as a result of EAHY, as a revolving fund for the restoration of historic buildings.It provides low interest loans to Building Preservation Trusts throughout the UK. It also advises, offers feasibility study grants, and project administration grants.

Architrave
the lowest part of the entablature. The term is also commonly used to describe a moulded surround to any opening, but is usually applied to a door or window opening. A shouldered (sometimes referred to as eared or (Scotland) lugged) architrave has the surround turning outwards, then upwards ...

Arcuated
a term applied to a building structurally dependent on the use of arches or the arch principle, in contrast to a trabeated building. (Illustration)

Areas of Archaeological Interest
can be designated under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1977. There are only five in England, Canterbury, Chester, Exeter, Hereford and York. This part of the act is not in force in Scotland, where as a result, none have been designated.

Areas of Great Landscape Value
range of regional areas identified as being of scenic importance. Designated by Local Authorities and protected in Structure and Local Plans.

Armature
the term is generally used to describe the skeleton of a building, but properly used refers to hidden structural ironwork used as reinforcement for thin columns, supports for canopies etc. Most often used to describe the frames inside sculpture.

Armorial panels
panels on a building, situated either internally or externally, but usually prominently positioned above the main entrance, which contains the coat of arms of the owner. Armory is the science of heraldry, the laws which govern the use of coats of arms and all of the associated decoration. He...

Arris
sharp edge at external angle formed by the meeting of two surfaces. The term is usually applied to finishings such as joinery, plasterwork or polished stone. A sharp arris in a soft material such as timber or plaster is prone to damage. Paint applied to a sharp timber arris is particularl...

Art Deco
a style fashionable during the 1920s-30s. The name is said to derive from an exhibition of mainly industrial art held in Paris in 1925. Unlike modernism, it was never particularly functional, being something of a simpler, chunkier, art nouveau. Usually associated more with internal work. B...

Art Nouveau
the name of a shop opening in Paris in 1895 to sell objects of modern, i.e. non- period-imitation style, a movement away from imitation of the past. It was concerned mainly with decoration, and is characterised by flowing line and movement owing much to nature ie plant and wave forms. Had ...

Article 4 Direction
additional powers sought by Local Authority under Article 4 of the General Development Order (this is the same article in Scotland and England, although the Orders are different) to control certain classes of permitted development, by introducing the necessity to obtain planning consent befor...

Arts and Crafts
late 19th century and earlier 20th century movement in architecture and furnishing based on the revival of traditional crafts and the use of natural materials, usually English 'vernacular' in character. Inspired by William Morris and John Ruskin, the movement attracted many notable designers...

As built or as finished drawings
drawings of a completed piece of work. It is a term first associated with ship building where, as work progressed, it was common to require changes to be made to the initial design. It is common as work progresses on projects involving work to old buildings, for changes to be made to the desi...

Asbestos
a generic term for a group of minerals found in veins in rock consisting of textile like silicate fibres. The most common members of this group are chrysotile, crocidolite and amosite. Chrysotile also known as white asbestos is the most widely used and its fibres are soft, flexible and curly. ...

Ashlar - Mason's drag - Plain work
Dressed stonework of any type, where the blocks have squared sides, carefully squared corners, and are laid in regular courses, usually with fine joints. The faces of the stones, called ashlars, are generally smooth and polished, but can be tooled, (see broached) or have a decorative treat...

Ashlar Pieces-Posts
a short vertical timber which runs down the inner face of the wallhead. It is morticed into a rafter at a point near its foot, and is also usually connected to the rafter by a timber spanning the wallhead, which effectively forms a timber triangle. The ashler post, in pressing against the ...

Ashlar Post Illustrations
The sixteenth century ashlar post roof at Alton Tower. (Detail)

Assembly marks
marks on pre-assembled building materials, most commonly found on roof timbers, which indicate the order in which they should be built into the structure for which they have been designed. Usually in Roman Numerals and mostly, but not always, in sequence. Sometimes an additional symbol such a...

Astragal
properly used, it refers to a narrow, circular section moulding. More commonly, it is used to describe wooden glazing bars dividing up a glazed sash (Quite reasonably, these are also refered to as sash bars). Early astragals tended to be thick and chunky without much detail (Illustration)...

Astylar
term used to describe a facade that has no columns pilasters, or similar vertical features.

Athens Charter
a remarkable document, adopted at the First International Congress of architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments, which took place in Athens in 1931, under the auspices of the League of Nations. A R Powys, author of 'Repair of Ancient Buildings', still a seminal work, who was secretary ...

Atrium
in Roman domestic architecture, an inner court open to the sky and surrounded by the roof, now often used as a general term to describe large glazed sections in buildings.

Attic base
the base of an Ionic column, which consists of two convex mouldings, the top one being smaller, separated by a concave moulding. See Classical Architecture

Auger-Gimlet
a hand held tool (T-shaped) for boring holes, usually looks like a giant corkscrew, but can also be fitted with a 'spoon' bit for cleaning out holes. A gimlet is a small auger. Basically, a gimlet is worked by one hand, while an auger requires two.

Aumbry
a small recess or cupboard used to hold sacred vessels, most often in the thickness of the wall. see church design

Autoplumb
an optical instrument which basically does the job of a plumb bob, but eliminates problems of having to spend time at height, and of wind sway. See Measured Survey.

Avenues
Prior to the C17th, the term only referred to the approach to a building that was lined with trees. Latterly, it applied to any tree lined road, path or way. A very popular feature after the restoration of the monarchy, following the Dutch and French fashion. Regarded as unfashionably stif...

Axis
an imaginary straight line around which buildings or spaces/rooms within buildings are positioned. Axial planning involves deliberately positioning a number of buildings or rooms within a building on an axis which runs through their centres.

Axonometric
a method of drawing in which vertical lines are drawn to scale off of an accurate plan which has usually been turned through 45 degrees. Very useful for revealing the construction and the interiors of buildings. Axonometrics can appear somewhat distorted but measurements can be taken from the...

Barrel, Tunnel or Wagon Vault
the simplest vault, also called a wagon or tunnel vault. A continuous vault usually semi-circular in section.

Bench mark - datum
a fixed reference point of known elevation left while undertaking a survey. Has to be permanent, so they are often found at the base of buildings. Usual form is the 'war dept arrow' with a horizontal line above. See ordnance survey. Apprentice engineers used to be asked to go and borrow a ...

Blind Illustration
Two tiered blind arcading on the apse of Leuchars church, Fife, 1183-7, it is one of the finest Norman churches in Britain.

Bool and Clay
(Scottish) form of vernacular wall construction using locally available and uncut stone such as field or river gathered boulders and clay. Sometimes referred to, rather strangely, as ham and egg work.

BRIDGE CASE STUDY
FORTEVIOT BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER EARN Arch Terminology Diagrams Abstract : Bridges are amongst man's most important constructions. They are of necessity practical, but can also have wonderful aesthetic qualities. For centuries, bridge building depended almost wholly on the use of the arch, ...

Broached - Droved - Batting
a tooling on the face of masonry which both levels off the surface of the stone, and provides a decorative effect, most often found on door or margins margins, sometimes on ashlar work, broaching consists of parallel grooves which run virtually the full length of the stone, cut with a shar...

Buttress Illustrations
Flying buttress at York Minister. Note the arrangement of buttress, particularly the angled buttress at the corners on early 18th century barn at Coxwell. (Detail)

Carpentry - Joinery
wood working as a site-based operation, as opposed to joinery which is a workshop based operation. Carpentry might involve constructing partions, roofs etc, or fixing together/in place, what the joiner has manufactured in the workshop, which might include doors, staircases etc. From the Frenc...

Caryatid - Atlantes
a sculptured female figure used as a column, the male equivalent is 'Atlantes' (plural of Atlas who carried the world on his shoulders).

Cell or Webb
a compartment contained by ribs, usually infilled in stone, latterly in brick. Also known as a webb. See vault.

Close - Vennel
there are a number of quite varied meanings, can be the area in the immediate vicinity of a cathedral, or, (Scottish) passageway giving access to a tennement stair, as distinct from a pend which is a covered passageway giving access to an area at the rear of buildings, while a venne...

Craft-Trade
these terms have been included because they are so frequently confused. They should be separate. While a trade may be described as a skilled line of work, a craft is first of all, vocational, very skilled, and requires a high level of intelligence, ingenuity and imagination.

Cross or Groined vault
where two barrel vaults of identical shape intersect at right angles. Also known as a groined vault. See vault.

Cylinder, Muff or Broad Glass
a blown sphere which was then swung or twisted into a sausage shape. The ends were removed and the resulting cylinder was split and flattened and cooled in the annealing oven. This process produced quite large sheets, approximately 2ft by 1ft, ch...

Dado (dado rail)
the lower portion of an internal wall, usually timber lined, extending some 900mm above floor level. Originally to prevent damage from furniture, and perhaps to hide the effects of rising damp.

Dayworks
works that are costed on a day by day basis. They may for example be small extra jobs which occur during the course of a larger contract.

De Stijl
Dutch (the style) cubist art and architecture movement 1917 - 1931 Influential, but did not produce much. Schroder house in Utrecht by Reitveld is best known work. Schroder house 3D model

Deafening
a general term for sound insulation material used in floors, walls etc. Traditionally, all sorts of materials have been used, ash for example, is quite commonly found between floors. Modern materials are often referred to as 'absorbants'. see pugging

Deal
squared boards of pine or fir usual size is 9' x 2-4', used for flooring ie deal floors.

Dean of Guild Court
grew from the merchant's guild to settle trading disputes, within Scotland`s Royal Burghs. The powers of these courts were steadily eroded by jealous town councils until the Police Act of 1862 allowed a wider establishment of such courts, mainly in response to poor housing. Control over build...

Death watch beetle
(Xestobium rufovillosum) a wood-boring beetle, so named because both sexes tap with their heads during courtship (the noise is not caused by them eating wood) and the sound was supposed to signify an imminent death. Larger than the common woodworm although related, it leaves exit, or shot hol...

Delta bar
A non ferrous metal bar (delta is a copper alloy) strong in both tension and compression, used for a range of conservation purposes including stitching together fractured lintels.

Demesne
an area of ground that nowadays would be thought of as the policies of a castle or large house, retained by the owner of that house for his or her own use, rather than being tenanted out. Typically the demesne (the 's' is not pronounced) would contain the home farm, a park, a chase etc so the ...

Dendrochronology
the science of dating timber by analysing tree ring widths can be used on any timber construction from building to furniture - a sort of fingerprinting process for trees. It is a process that is dependant on reference data, but long accurate sequences (chronologies) of growth patterns, have ...