Architect Terminology

After extolling the design properties of my work for hours, it suddenly occurred to me – some of us may not be familiar with all the terms frequently used by Architects. Since, we often tend to congregate in the corners and talk amongst ourselves, we tend to forget to include everyone else in the discussion. We don’t mean anything by that, we’re just socially dysfunctional, and slightly drunk. But, maybe we could build some bridges by clarifying some of the specialized terminology we use. That way we’ll all be on the same page.

So, with that in mind, here’s a few commonly used Architectural terms you can add to your vocabulary:

Node: (noun) – the state an Architectural concept exists in after it has been rejected by the client.

Symmetry: (noun) – the place where the bodies of dead Architects are interred.

Hierarchy: (noun) – an arched opening positioned above another arched opening.

Concrete: (verb) – the act of taking money from tourists in the Mediterranean through an elaborate scheme involving aggregate and water.

Datum: (noun) – a line drawn from one irrelevant point to another. The line is never curved.

Joist: (noun) – the inexplicable happiness of framers.

Eave: (verb) – the sound construction workers make when lifting heavy objects, often followed by the word “ho”

Plane: (verb) – to remove all detail or ornament from a design.

Interstitial:  (noun) – the space between the Architectural commission you have and the one you hoped to have.

Spatial: (adj) – the smartest intern.

Cantilever: (noun) – handicap accessible door hardware that will not open.

Beams: (verb) – Architectural facial expressions upon design approval and/or payment.

Columns: (noun) – vertical structural elements that may be installed horizontally prior to lawsuits.

Consultant: (noun) – one to whom blame is placed.

Diametrically: (adj) – smartier way of saying “very”

Curvilinear: (noun) – not applicable

Form: (noun) – to follow function

Drafting: (verb) – The act of one Architect’s increasing his chances of success by following another Architect very closely.

T-square: (noun) – unsuccessful Architect turned 1990s rapper.

Ridge: (noun) – the crest of the nose under the circular glasses.

Grid: (noun) – An Architect’s ego, in a Freudian way.


I know you want to give it a try, right? Ok, here’s your word. Feel free to enter your definition in the comment section below, enjoy:




by the way, the cover photo is from Mark Woodland’s photostream on Flickr – used under creative commons license.