Architectural and Engineering Glossary


A room for the keeping of vestments,garments, or clothes;a wardrobe.


An anteroom or small foyer leading into a larger space.


A chamber in a church,near the sanctuary,for the storage of the utensils used in a service and for the robes of the clergy and choir.


Abbr.for “vertical grain.”

Via De Crujía

The enclosed passageway between the high altar and choir of a Hispanic cathedral.

Vibrated Concrete

Concrete compacted by vibration during and after placing.

Vibrating Pile Driver

Same as sonic pile driver.

Vibrating Roller

A roller which has a motor driven eccentric for compacting soils.

Vibrating Screed

A machine designed to level a freshly poured concrete slab and also to act as a vibrator.


As applied to concrete,see concrete vibration.

Vibration Isolator

A resilient support for machinery,piping, ductwork,etc.,which may act as a source of vibration;designed to reduce the amount of vibration transmitted to the building structure.

Vibration Limit

The time required for fresh concrete to harden sufficiently to prevent its becoming mobile when subjected to vibration.

Vibration Meter

An apparatus for measuring the displacement,velocity,or acceleration of a vibrating body.

Vibration Service Lamp

An incandescent lamp,having a tungsten filament,which is designed to withstand mechanical vibration to a greater degree than a general service lamp.


An oscillating,power operated machine used to agitate fresh concrete so as to eliminate gross voids including entrapped air (but not entrained air) and to produce intimate contact with form surfaces and embedded materials.


In England,the home or residence of a vicar.

Vicat Apparatus

A penetration device used in the testing of hydraulic cements and similar materials to measure their consistency and their initial and final setting times.

Vice Stair

A screw stair.


See vis.

Vickers Number

A numerical rating for the hardness of a metal;measured by applying a known force to an inverted pyramid shaped diamond placed on the surface of the metal,and then measuring the area of indentation and the depth of penetration.

Victorian Romanesque

An ornate out- growth of the Richardsonian Romanesque style from which it differs both in the use of color and in the texture of masonry,and in being less exact  in adapting Romanesque style forms;popular  from about 1870 to 1900; usually  characterized by:rock-faced stone or decorative stonework,often polychromed;brick of different  colors;panels of terra cotta;semicircular arches or compound arches similar to those in the Romanesque style;pilastered arcades at ground level; steeply pitched wall gables;multicurved parapets;window heads framed by masonry arches;doors set within concentric rounded masonry arches or with voussoirs of more than one color. 

Victorian Architecture

1.The Revival and Eclectic architecture in 19th century Great Britain,named after the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901);also its American counterpart.Many architectural historians avoid the term Victorian architecture,considering the adjective “Victorian”merely as descriptive of an age that encompassed a number of specific exuberant,ornate, and highly decorative architectural styles.2.A loose term that sometimes covers three picturesque phases of architecture in America:Early Victorian(1840–1860),High  Victorian(1860 1880),and Late Victorian(1880– 1890) and beyond;the adjective “Victorian” is descriptive of an age that encompassed a number of specific exuberant, ornate, and highly decorative architectural styles,such as High Victorian Italianate (1860–1885),High Victorian Gothic (1860–1890),Second Empire style(1855–1890),Stick style (1860–1885),Shingle style(1880–1890),Victorian  Romanesque(1870–1900),Gingerbread Folk architecture (1870–1910),and Queen Anne style (1870–1910).The adjectives VictorianorHigh Victorianare sometimes applied to Gothic Revival and Italianate style to indicate their later,more detailed,and more elaborate phases.

Victorian Gothic

Same as High Victorian Gothic;also see Gothic Revival.

Victorian Queen Anne Style

See Queen Anne style.

Vierendeel Truss,Vierendeel Girder

An open web truss having verticals which are rigidly connected to the top and bottom chords but without diagonals.


In Spanish Colonial architecture and its derivatives,a log that has been stripped of its bark and unhewn;used as one of a number of roof beams spanning the width of a building between opposite adobe walls;usually evenly spaced along the length of the walls;often round in cross section.Typically,the vigas are overlaid with small straight saplings that are covered by a reed matting;this combination supports a roof of dried mud or adobe.


See vinette.


A Buddhist or Jain monastery in Indian architecture.

Viking Style

See Dragon style.


1.In the Roman and Renaissance periods,a country seat with its dwelling,outbuildings,and gardens,often quite elaborate.2.In modern times,a detached suburban or country house of some pretension.

Villa Style

See Italianate style.

Village Green

An open space or public park,once traditionally located at the center of a village;still found in many towns today;also see common.


1.A Hindu temple,mainly of the Deccan and southern India.2.The  sanctuary in such a temple containing a cell in which a deity is enshrined.


A plant whose stem is not self supporting. 

Vinette, Trayle, Vignette

An ornament of running vine scrolls with grape clusters and leafwork.


A thermoplastic compound made from polymerized vinyl chloride,vinylide chloride,or vinyl acetate; includes some plastics made from styrene and other chemicals.

Vinyl Composition Tile

A resilient floor covering which is composed of a binder (one or more resins,such as vinyl chloride,compounded with suitable plasticizer and stabilizers)with fillers,and pigment.

Vinyl Flooring

A resilient floor covering in sheet or tile form composed of a vinyl plastic binder,mineral fillers,and pigment.

Vinyl Paint

A water based paint containing vinyl.

Vinyl Tile

A floor tile composed principally of polyvinyl chloride but also containing mineral fillers,pigments,plasticizers,and stabilizers;does not require waxing; usually set in mastic over a wood or concrete subfloor.

Vinyl-asbestos Tile

A resilient,semiflexible floor tile;composed of asbestos fibers,ground limestone,plasticizers,pigments,and a polyvinyl chloride resin binder;has good wearing qualities,high grease resistance,and relatively good resilience.

Virginia House

A comparatively simple timber framed wood house used during the17th century,originating in the Chesapeake Bay area of the Commonwealth of Virginia;supported by posts sunk in the ground rather than by a foundation.The exterior walls were covered with a wall cladding of hand split clapboards,which provided additional structural strength.

Virginia I-house

An I house often found in southern US;usually has a relatively low pitched roof,a central dormer,and a raised foundation.

Virginia Rail Fence

Same as zigzag fence.


A spiral staircase generally of stone,whose steps wind around a central shaft or newel;a screw stair.


A device for determining viscosity;esp.used to measure the viscosity of slurries,including fresh concrete.


Same as viscometer.


The internal frictional resistance exhibited by a fluid in resisting a force which tends to cause the liquid to flow.

Viscous Filter

A filter for cleaning air;dirt,carried by the air,impinges on a surface covered with a viscous fluid or oil,to which the dirt particles adhere.


1.A gripping tool,fixed or portable,used to hold an object firmly while work is performed on it; has movable jaws,similar to a clamp,which are brought together by a screw or lever.2.See vis.