Architectural and Engineering Glossary

Ballast Noise Rating

A measure of the noise generated by a fluorescent lamp ballast;designated by letters from A (the quietest) through F(the noisiest).

Balled And Burlapped

In landscape architecture,a method of preparing a plant or tree for transplantation;the largest part of the root system is covered with a ball of soil and then wrapped in burlap (Hessian) for protection and ease of handling when it is moved to the site where it is to be planted.


A spherical ornament composed of three conventionalized petals enclosing a ball,usually in a hollow molding,popular in the English Decorated style.

Balling Up

In welding,the formation of globules of molten brazing filler metal or flux as a result of failure to wet adequately the metal being welded. ballium The court of open space within amedieval fortification; a bailey.


A globe or round ball,placed on the top of a pillar,pediment,pier,or the like,which serves as a crown.

Balloon Framing, Balloon Frame

A system of framing a wooden building;all vertical structural elements of the exterior bearing walls and partitions consist of single studs which extend the full height of the frame,from the top of the sole- plate to the roof plate;all floor joists are fastened by nails to studs.Compare with braced framing.

Balloon-payment Loan

A type of loan agreement, whether or not secured by a mortgage,in which the final payment due at maturity is much larger in amount than each of the periodic payments required during the life of the loan.


A large social hall expressly designed for dancing,but frequently used for dining or large meetings.


ofbalneum Roman baths,usually the great public ones.


In ancient Rome,a private bath room.


The lightest of all woods,with density of about 7 to 10 lb per cu ft (110 to 160 kg per cu m);used for the core of light weight sandwich panels,models, etc


1.The band in the middle of the bolster of an Ionic capital.2.The band joining the volutes of an Ionic capital.3.One of the passages dividing the auditorium of ancient Roman theaters and amphitheaters horizontally into upper and lower zones.

Baluster Column

1.A column shaped some what like a baluster,with a short, massive shaft.2.A short,thick set column in a subordinate position,as in the windows of early Italian campanili.

Baluster Shaft

Same as baluster column.

Baluster Side

On an Ionic capital,the return face (having the form of a concave roll),reaching from volute to volute.


An entire railing system (as along the edge of a balcony) including a top rail and its balusters,and sometimes a bottom rail.


Same as altar rail.


In the architecture of India,a court or courtyard.


1.Any horizontal flat member or molding or group of moldings projecting slightly from a wall plane and usually marking a division in the wall. Also called band molding or band course.

Banana Oil

See amyl acetate.


In Spanish architecture and its derivatives,a built-in seat.

Band Clamp

A two piece metal clamp,secured by bolts at both ends;used to hold riser pipes.

Band Course

Same as belt course.

Band Iron

A thin metal strap used as a form tie,a hanger,etc.

Band Window

One of a horizontal series of three windows or more,separated only by mullions,that form a horizontal band across the façade of a building;for example,see frieze band window.Most commonly found in buildings erected after 1900.Also called a ribbon window.


A strap,band,ring,or chain placed around a structure to secure and hold its parts together,as around the springing of a dome.

Banded Architrave

In late neoclassic architecture in England,Italy,and France,an architrave,2 interrupted at intervals by smooth projecting blocks,between which are set the molded portions of the architrave.

Banded Barrel Vault

A masonry barrel vault whose semicircular cross section is stiffened at regular intervals by arches which project beneath the vault’s surface.

Banded Column

A column with drums that alternate in size,color,or degree of ornamentation.

Banded Impost

In medieval architecture,an impost with horizontal moldings,the section of the molding of the arch above being similar to that of the shaft below.

Banded Pilaster

A pilaster decorated in the manner of a banded column.

Banded Rustication

Courses of masonry,alternating smooth ashlar with rustication,in Renaissance architecture and derivatives.

Banded Surround

A surround (i.e., a decorative architectural element around a doorway,fireplace, or window) that is banded,usually by adjacent masonry blocks that are of two different sizes; for example,see Gibbs surround.


1.An annulet.2.A small flat molding.

Banderol, Banderole, Bannerol

A decorative representation of a ribbon or long scroll,often bearing an emblem or inscription.


1.Wood edging for veneered doors or panels; normally used at the edge of plywood or coreboard constructions.2.One or more decorative wood strips; decorative inlay.3.Metal,plastic,or fiber straps to tie bundles together. 4.The strapping of the top of a timber pile to prevent its splitting while being driven.

Banding Plane

A carpenter’s plane used to cut grooves and to inlay strings and bands in straight and circular work.

Blind Arch

An arch in which the opening is permanently closed by wall construction.

Blind Area

An area built around the outside of a basement wall to prohibit penetration of moisture.

Blind Attic

An attic space,floored but unfinished inside.Also see loft.

Blind Casing, Subcasing

A rough window frame or subcasing to which trim is added.

Blind Door

1.Same as blank door.2.A louvered door.

Blind Dovetail

Same as secret dovetail.

Blind Drain

A drain which is not connected to a sewage system.

Blind Fast

A catch for securing a blind or a shutter,in either an open or a closed position.

Blind Flange

A flange which closes the end of  a pipe.

Blind Floor

Same as subfloor.

Blind Header

In an interior of a brick wall,a header concealed so that it does not appear on the face of the wall.

Blind Hoistway

A hoistway that does not have a hoistway door at every floor.

Blind Nipple

A nipple,one end of which is capped.