Architectural Terms: Some Basic Definitions
abacus - the uppermost member of a capital. Plain in the Doric order, molded in the Ionic order.
architrave - a lintel in stone or beam of timber carried from the top of one column or pier to another; the lowest member of the entablature.
base - the lowest member of a column; the Doric column has no base.
capital - the topmost member of a column and the most distinctive member of the order.
cella - the enclosed chamber or sanctuary of a temple; also known by the Greek term naos.
cornice - the upper member of the entablature.
Doric - the order evolved in the Dorian and western regions of Greece.
echinus - the convex molding supporting the abacus of a Doric capital.
entablature - the superstructure carried by columns; usually divided into 3 parts: architrave (the supporting member resting on the columns), frieze (the decorative portion), cornice (crowning and projecting member).
flutes - the vertical channels in the shafts of columns.
frieze - the middle member of the entablature, usually decorated with sculpture (continuous sculpture in the Ionic order; sculptured metopes separated by triglyphs in the Doric order).
Ionic - the order evolved in the Ionian and eastern Greek world.
metope - the sunken pictorial panels between triglyphs in the Doric order.
opisthodomos - the recessed porch in the rear of a Greek temple order
pediment - 'the gable': the recessed area within the angle formed by the meeting of the cornices at the roof; usually filled with sculpture.
peripteral - a temple whose cella is surrounded by a covered colonnade.
pronaos - the porch in front of the naos or cella.
raking cornice - upper frame of the pediment, below the roof line.
shaft - the main body of a column of pier between base and capital.
stylobate - the top step of a temple, forming the platform for the columns.
triglyph - a raised rectangular divider beteen the metopes, marked with 3 vertical channels.
volute - the spiral scroll of the Ionic capital.