Architectural and Engineering Glossary


Terne Metal

An alloy of lead,containing up to 20% tin.


Sheet steel which is coated with terne metal;widely used for roofing and construction work.

Terra Alba

A pure white uncalcined gypsum which is used as a filler in paints.


Clay that has been molded in shape and then treated in a kiln at a high temperature;typically reddish-brown in color when unglazed;when glazed,usually colored and used for ornamental work,such as architectural terra-cotta,and for floor tile and roof tile.


1.An embankment with level top,often paved,planted, and adorned for leisure use.2.A flat roof or a raised space or platform adjoining a building,paved or planted, used for leisure enjoyment.

Terrace Door

A glass door which has one leaf fixed and the other leaf hinged to the fixed leaf. 

Terrace House

One of a row of houses situated on a terrace,or similar site.

Terrace Roof

See cut roof.


In Hispanic architecture,a flat roof made of compacted earth that is sealed with a layer of plaster.


Same as trass.

Terrazzo,terrazzo Concrete

Marble aggregate concrete that is cast in place or precast and ground smooth;used as a decorative surfacing on floors and walls.


An earth embankment,flattened at the top.

Territorial Revival

An architectural  mode of limited popularity in the southwestern United States,particularly New Mexico,after about 1920;basically a modification of Territorial style.

Territorial Style

An architectural style in New Mexico from the time it became a territory of the United States in 1848 until about 1900; typically,a one-story house usually having a flat roof with parapets,exterior walls of adobe coated with adobe plaster or stucco;an entry door commonly flanked with sidelights;brick trim around doors and windows with pedimented lintels above,sometimes with wood decorative trim suggestive of the Greek Revival style.Such houses were sometimes built around an enclosed courtyard with rooms opening onto a covered walkway around the perimeter of the courtyard.


A building material cut into rectangular units of sod from a river bottom or swamp,and then sun baked;similar to adobe but stronger when dry because of the added strength provided by the sod roots;used in the form of building blocks.

Tertiary Beam

Any beam which transfers its load to a secondary beam,at either one end or both ends.


Formed of small square pieces of marble,stone,glass,or the like,in the manner of an ornamental mosaic.

Tessellated Work

Inlay work composed of tesserae.


A small squarish piece of colored marble,glass,or tile,used to make mosaic patterns,either geometric or figurative.

Tesseris Structum

Same as opus tessellatum.


A check on the performance characteristics of a building component,device,material,piece of equipment,or system to determine its conformity with performance criteria and standards.Tests may be performed in the prototype stage,during manufacture,at the site during and after installation,after the project’s completion,or at any combination of these times.

Test Code

A measurement standard that is primarily applicable to a specific class or type of machinery or equipment.

Test Cylinder

A cylinder of concrete 6 in.(15 cm) in diameter and 12 in.(30 cm) high;cast from a representative sample of the plastic concrete in any pour and cured under controlled conditions;used to determine its compressive strength after a specified time interval.

Test Method

The technical procedures and actions that are required to determine whether or not a particular product conforms with a relevant standard.

Test Pile

A pile,1 used to determine the load that it can support without settling;this determination usually is made by placing heavy weights on a platform mounted on the top of the pile.

Test Pit

An excavation made to examine an existing foundation,or to determine whether an area is suitable for building construction;includes the taking of soil samples and the determining of the depth of groundwater.

Test Plug

In a drainage system,a plug which is installed in the system being tested for leaks.The test plug is connected to an air compressor (through a valve) that is used to inflate it and seal the drain.

Test Pressure

In plumbing,the water pressure or air pressure to which the pipes and fittings,1 are subjected when they are tested for water tightness and strength.

Test Tee

In plumbing,a special pipe tee which is inserted in a drainage system;provided with a mechanism for producing water test pressure to check the system for leaks.


Same as opus testaceum.


1.A flat canopy,as over a bed,throne,pulpit,or tomb.2.In a church,the same as sounding board.

Testing Machine

Any device or machine used to measure accurately the properties of a material,product,assembly,etc.under controlled conditions.


Having a ridge roof.


In Roman architecture,an arched vault or ceiling,esp.when surbased or flattened.


Said of a classical temple having a portico of four columns in front of the cella or naos.


A structure characterized by having four gateways as an architectural feature.


A courtyard with porticoes or open colonnades on each of its four sides.


Having four columns in the front or end row;consisting of a row or rows of four columns.


A material,woven or knitted,that is made from fiber or yarn.

Textile Mill

A factory in which woven fabrics are manufactured.Many early mills were located near a source of water power for operating the machinery;most were of timber construction and in constant danger of being consumed by fire.In 1832,a significant advance in fire safety occurred with the construction of a mill in Rhode Island that was especially designed to resist fire (and to burn slowly if ignited) by using thick floor planking,by minimizing the number of timber beams,and by maximizing the cross- sectional area of each beam.These design criteria,widely applied,greatly improved fire safety in the mills.


The tactile and visual quality of a surface or substance other than its color.

Texture Brick

A rustic brick.

Texture Finished Paint

See plastic paint.

Textured Paint

See plastic paint.


Abbr.for“tongued,grooved,and beaded.”


In early Greek architecture,an inner room or chamber,esp.the women’s apartment.


The covering of a roof,or the like,usually made of straw,reed,or similar materials fastened together to shed water and sometimes to provide thermal insulation;in tropical countries palm leaves are widely used.

Thatched Hut

See palma hut.


A building or outdoor structure providing a stage (and associated equipment) for the presentation of dramatic performances and seating for spectators.


An arena theater;also see arena, 2.