Architectural and Engineering Glossary


A dome, cupola, or structure of similar form, as a cup shaped ceiling, the head of an alcove, etc.

Calves’ Tongue Molding

See calf’s tongue molding.


Flint or pebble stone; used in building walls,etc.


An ornament resembling the outer protective covering of a flower; found, for example, in the Corinthian capital.


In a lock, a rotating piece attached to the end of the cylinder plug to engage the locking mechanism.

Cam Handle, Locking Handle

In a window having a sash (ventilator, 2) which swings about pivots,a handle which locks the sash in a closed position by wedging it against a  keeper.


In a church, a camera, 3 used for storing images, adornments, and the like.


1.A slight convex curvature built into a truss or beam to compensate for any anticipated deflection so that it will have no sag when under load. Also see bow.2.A slight convex curvature of any surface, e.g.,to facilitate the runoff of water.

Camber Arch

An arch having little rise; essentially a flat arch having a slightly upward curve toward its midpoint.

Camber Beam

A beam curved slightly upward toward the center.

Camber Board

A template which performs the same function as a camber diagram.

Camber Diagram

A diagram, used in construction,which indicates the specified camber at all points along the length of a truss or beam.

Camber Piece, Camber Slip

A slightly curved wood board used as a support in laying a brick arch having a small rise.

Camber Window

A window arched at the top.


The cellular layer of wood tissue between the bark and sapwood of a tree.


A concrete masonry unit with transverse openings; used in tropical architecture, often decoratively, to permit ventilation while excluding sunlight, as in a brise soleil.


A slender rod of cast lead, with or without grooves, used in casements and stained-glass win- dows, to hold together the panes or pieces of glass.

Camelback  truss

A truss having a broken out line for the upper chord, composed of a series of straight segments, taking the humped shape of a camel’s back.

Camelhair Mop

A soft haired brush which is used for varnishing, gilding,and filling in narrow spaces.

Camera Vitrea

A vaulted ceiling, having its surface lined with plates of glass.


Having an arched or vaulted appearance.

Camp Ceiling

1.A ceiling shaped like the interior of a truncated pyramid. 2.The ceiling within the roof of a building, the sides of which are sloped, following the line of the rafters, but the center of which is flat.4.A ceiling that sags inwardly like a tent. Also called a camp ceiling  or tent ceiling.

Camp Sheeting Sheetpiling

used for foundation work in sandy soil.


The body of a Corinthian capital.


In Mission architecture, a belfry or a pierced wall that serves as a belfry, with a bell usually hung in an arched opening.




A bell tower, usually freestanding.




The grounds and buildings of a university, college, or school.


Abbr. for canvas.

Canadian Standards Association

In Canada, a membership organization serving industry, educational institutions, and government in the field of standardization, including the standardization of building components, materials, and testing. Also see Construction Specifications Institute Canada.

Canal, Canalis

A channel or groove, as a hol low between the fillets of the volutes of an Ionic capital.


In Spanish Colonial architecture, a waterspout used to drain rainwater from an essentially flat roof; it projects through, and beyond, the face of the parapet around the roof. 


A small channel or groove,as a fluting carved on the face of a triglyph.

Canary Whitewood

Same as tulipwood.

Canary Wood

See balaustre.


In Spanish architecture and its derivatives,a large gate often of ironwork or a massive wood gate,usually decorated with spindlework or a lattice grille.


Barred screens in a basilica,separating the clergy from the laity,in Early Christian architecture.


The International Standard unit of luminous intensity;closely approximates the formerly accepted unit known as the “international candle.”

Candela Per Unit Area

See luminance.


1.A movable candle lampstand with central shaft and,often,branches or a decorative representation thereof. 2.A lighting device designed as an architectural fixture,composed as in definition1,above. Also see lamppost.

Candle Beam

In old churches,a horizontal beam,bar,or rail furnished with prickets for holding candles,each of which has a saucer or tray to catch the drippings;placed over or near the altar,and also at the entrance to the choir or chancel,where the rood beam or rood screen was placed in richer churches.

Candle Snuffer Roof

Same as conical roof.

Candlepower (cp)

The luminous intensity of a light source,expressed in candelas.Abbr.cp.Also see apparent candlepower.

Cane Bolt

A heavy cane shaped bolt with the top bent at right angles;installed at the bottom of a door.

Cane Fiberboard

A fiberboard primarily composed of sugarcane fibers after juice has been extracted from the cane(bagasse);held together by a binder.


1.Ornament representing a maiden (youth) bearing a basket of ceremonial offerings on the head.2.A caryatid with basket on her head;used either as a support or as a freestanding garden ornament.


Said of a surface that is fluted or grooved.


A water conduit,pipe,or clay tile spout on a Hispanic building.


A hole left  in a retaining  wall to permit water in the earth behind the wall to drain through it.