Continuing Denis Duffy’s explanation of common architectural terms


Cantilever – The part of a building with no visible means of support.. a cantilever beam – such as a balcony or canopy – projects sometimes worryingly far into thin air without any struts or cables to brace it.  The trick is that the weight of the projecting portion is balanced by downward forces within the main structure of the building.

Casement – The hinged part of a window, attached to the upright side of the window frame.

Chair-rail – (or Dado-rail). A moulding round  a room to prevent chairs, when pushed against the walls, from damaging their surface.

Chimney-stack _- Masonry or brickwork containing several flues, projecting above the roof and terminating in chimney pots.

Cladding – An external covering or skin applied to a structure for aesthetic or protective purposes.

Cob – Walling material made of clay mixed with straw, gravel and sand.

Column – An upright member, circular in plan and usually slightly tapering..

Concrete – Cement mixed with coarse and fine aggregate (such as pebbles, crushed stone, brick) sand and water in specific proportions.

Coping – A capping or covering to a wall, either flat or sloping to throw off water.

Corbel – A projecting block usually of stone, supporting a beam or other horizontal member.

Cornice – Any projecting ornamental moulding on the top of a building wall, arch etc., finishing or crowning it.

Coving – The large concave moulding produced by the sloped or arched junction of a wall and ceiling.

Cowl – A metal covering, like a monk’s hood, fixed over a chimney or other vent, and revolving with the wind to improve ventilation.

Curtain wall – A non-load-bearing wall which can be applied in front of a framed structure to keep out the weather.