Architectural and Engineering Glossary


1.A watertight structure or chamber, within which work is carried on in building foundations or structures below water level. 2.A sunken panel, a vaulted ceiling or the inside of a cupola; a coffer.

Caisson Drill

An auger ike machine (or an attachment for a crane) used in foundation work to cut a vertical or inclined circular shaft in the earth for a building footing which is carried to solid material beneath.

Caisson Pile

A cast-in-place pile; made by driving a tube into the ground, emptying the tube, then filling with concrete.


In paints, the formation of a hard dense mass of pigment which is difficult to disperse by hand agitation.


On drawings, abbr. for “calorie.”


The basket shaped or bell shaped core of a capital, esp. Corinthian.


Containing calcium carbonate or, less generally, containing the element calcium. 

Calcimine, Kalsomine

A low cost wash coating consisting of glue and whiting (usually powdered calcium carbonate) mixed with water, sometimes tinted; used on plaster or masonry type surfaces.


To heat a substance below the temperature of fusion to drive off chemically combined water or to alter its chemical and physical characteristics.

Calcined Gypsum

A gypsum that has been partially dehydrated by heating.


A mineral form of calcium carbonate; the principal constituent of limestone, chalk, and marble; usually a major raw material used in portland cement manufacture.

Calcite Streak

A former fracture or parting (in limestone) that has been recemented and annealed by deposition of calcite.

Calcium Aluminate Cement,aluminous Cement High Alumina Cement

The product obtained by pulverizing clinker,consisting essentially of hydraulic calcium aluminates resulting from fusing or sintering a suitably proportioned mixture of aluminous and calcareous materials.

Calcium Carbonate

A low density white pigment for use in paint; provides little opacity; used mainly to provide bulk and flatness.

Calcium Chloride

A chemical salt used in plastic concrete as an accelerator.

Calcium Hydroxide

Same as hydrated lime, 2.

Calcium Oxide

See lime.

Calcium Silicate Brick

Same as sand lime brick.

Calcium Silicate Insulation

Hydrated calcium silicate with inorganic fiber reinforcement, molded into rigid shapes.

Calcium Stearate

A product of the reaction of lime and stearic acid;used as an integral water repellant in concrete.

Calcium Sulfate

Anhydrite or gypsum dihydrate which has been calcined to the point at which all the water of crystallization has been removed.

Calcium Sulfate Cement

A cement that depends primarily on the hydration of calcium sulfate for its setting and hardening properties; includes Keene’s cement, Parian cement, plaster of paris.

Calcium Sulfate Hemihydrate

Gypsum which has been calcined to the point at which 75% of the water of crystallization has been removed.

Calculated Live Load

1.The live load which is specified by the applicable building code. 2.The actual load applied in service.


A brick 21.9 cm long,17.8 cm wide, and 6.6 cm high.


The hot plunge in a Roman bath.


A heated common room in a monastery.


A sculptured or painted emblematic series of the months.

Calf’s Tongue Molding,calves’ Tongue Molding

A molding consisting of a series of one story or one and a half story wood bungalow,often in the Craftsman style;widely found in California from about 1890 to 1920 as well as in other areas of the United States.


A small bulldozer.


In Hispanic architecture, a rectangular ornamental frame around a door.


An early term for caulk.


The nominal internal  diameter of a pipe. In contrast, the outside diameter is specified for brass and copper tubing and for brass and copper pipe of other than iron pipe sizes.


Same as caliber.


Gravel, sand,ordesert debris cemented by porous calcium carbonate or other salts.


1.A duct or pipe for conveying hot air,hot water,or steam for heating. 2.In the ancient Roman systems of furnace heating,a hot air flue,usually of terracotta or built up with brick partitions and tile facings.

California Bearing Ratio

A ratio used in determining the bearing capacity of a foundation; defined as the ratio of the force per unit area required to penetrate a soil mass with a 3 sq in. (19.4 sq cm) circular piston at the rate of
0.05 in. (1.27 mm) per min to the force required for corresponding penetration of a standard crushed rock base material; usually determined at a penetration of 0.1 in. (2.54 mm).

California Ranch House

See ranch house.


An instrument,resembling a pair of dividers, with adjustable legs for measuring the diameter or the thickness of bodies.Also see inside caliper and outside caliper.

Caliper Stage

In a theater, a stage having side arms, which may be used for acting,on both sides of the main stage or apron.


Same as caulking. 

Call Box

See fire alarm box.

Call For Bids

A formal request for bids for work to be performed on a building project.

Call Loan

A loan that is payable at any time on the demand of the lender;in some instances,the borrower may also have the right to repay the loan at any time he chooses.

Call Point

See fire alarm box.


Same as caliper. 


See came.


The heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1C; now called a small calorie.A large calorie is equal to 1000 small calories, i.e.a kilocalorie.

Calorific Value

The amount of heat liberated by the combustion of a unit weight (or if a gas, a unit volume) of fuel.


A storage vessel,not open to the atmosphere,in which a supply of water is heated.