Flash Cards for Architectural Terms

Architects speak their own specialized language, one laced with obfuscation and intrigue. Most of us learned an extensive vocabulary specific to our profession during our years in designing school. Our professors gleefully instructed us to “envision the inherent tension” created from the “diametrically opposed” forms within the “balanced compositional elements encoded” within our “conceptual configuration.”

We are extremely pleased with our language, and today, as we talk with our clients, our speech is sprinkled with this language. Our clients tend to stare at us blankly as we speak, with a mix of envy and disgust in their eyes (mainly disgust).

Certainly we must find a better way to convey. So, as an attempt to clarify things, I’ve come up with a couple of simple flash cards for a few of the more prevalent architectural conditions. It is wise to examine these for a couple of hours a day. That way you’ll understand what I am speaking about.

And perhaps you’ll quit staring at me like that.

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Fundamentally, agoras were the fries of early Rome, but they didn’t serve pizza at the food court. Otherwise, the same.

Agora (actual definition)

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Desiccant. Now you should probably step away from me, in case of lightning.

Basilica (actual definition)

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Fenestration doesn’t apply only to windows; it is the disposition of the openings on the facade. I just blew your mind, didn’t I?

Fenestration (actual definition)

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Hierarchy (actual definition)

Jody Brown Architecture

I really just needed to use the word “festooning.” Try it. It’s fun.

Ornament (actual definition)

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

or here
or here

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

You are at a prominent place — check.
You are tooting your own horn check.

Scale (as near as I could find to the actual definition)

Jody Brown Architecture, pllc

Who doesn’t love an architectural pun? … Please don’t answer that.

Symmetry (actual definition)

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