• Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Glass Curtain Wall

    Glass Curtain Wall.  Although Historic Indianapolis fans may think of historic architecture in 19th Century terms, the National Park Service (which maintains the National Register of Historic Places) and architectural historians know that buildings over...

    Read More 2 Comments
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Oculus

    Oculus. From the Latin for “eye,” oculus is the name for this round window and others of this shape. Alternate names for this feature are roundel (for its round shape) or bull’s eye (for obvious...

    Read More 3 Comments
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Jerkinhead

    Jerkinhead. A jerkinhead is a truncated gable at the end of a roof. This house in the 1700 block of South Delaware has three jerkinheads. Although the origin of the word doesn’t seem to be...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Balconet

    Balconet.  Although the word “balconet” may not be in your vocabulary bailiwick, you could probably figure out its meaning even without seeing a photograph.  A balconet projects from the façade of a building just below...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Scupper

    Scupper. A scupper is an opening in the wall of a building through which water drains.  Scuppers are most often found at the edge of the roof or within a parapet. The scupper in this...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Spindlework

    Spindlework. The frieze, which is the decorative trim beneath the cornice on this porch, the side brackets, which attach the frieze to the porch posts, and the pendants, the dropped pieces between frieze and side...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Stick Style

    Stick Style. This Old Northside residence is a Stick Style building. Probably constructed in the last quarter of the 19th Century, it is a good example of the style, identified by its wooden exterior with...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Winged Gable

    Winged Gable (or Prow). A winged gable, like the one on this house at 91st Street and Crestview Avenue, is an elongation of eave, which extends the roofline at the peak of the gable. This...

    Read More 1 Comments
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Oriel Window

    Oriel. An oriel is a bay window that is suspended from the upper story of a building, rather than rising from the foundation. The use of oriels in the United States was inspired by Medieval...

    Read More 1 Comments
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Grotesque

    Grotesque. A grotesque is a sculpted or molded ornament usually depicting a fanciful creature or distorted human. Grotesques are typically placed high on the exterior of buildings beneath the eave or at the top of...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Shotgun

    Shotgun. Most people know the term “shotgun” as it applies to a house. The old saw about the origin of the name is that you could stand in the front door and fire a shotgun...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Insulbrick

    Insulbrick. Insulbrick or Inselbrick (the product tradename) is an exterior siding product that mimics brick. The owners of the church building in this picture, located in the 900 block of Shelby Street, probably applied their...

    Read More 2 Comments
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Pleated Roof

    Pleated Roof.  The pleated roof on this building in the 1800 block of English Avenue is distinctive, especially on a street otherwise populated with late 19th and early 20thCentury homes and commercial buildings. Pleated roofs...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Fenestration

    Fenestration. From the Latin word “fenestra,” which means window, fenestration is used to describe the arrangement and type of windows is a building. The fenestration of The Gramse apartment building at 22ndand Broadway is varied,...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Windows

    Windows. You don’t have to be an architectural historian to know the term “windows.” But unless you make your living describing historic buildings you may not have considered all the many types of windows there...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Clerestory

    Clerestory.  A clerestory (pronounced and sometimes spelled “clearstory”) window is placed in the upper part of a house wall to allow light into the center of a high-ceilinged room.  Clerestory windows limit views into the...

    Read More 1 Comments
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: International Style

    International Style. The unadorned walls, casement windows that are flush with the exterior and wrapped around one corner, flat roof and asymmetry of this small house in the 5500 block of North Illinois Street peg...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Beltline

    Beltline or Stringcourse A beltline, also called a beltcourse or stringcourse, is a horizontal element that spans (or belts) the full width of a building’s façade. Often the beltline extends around the entire building and...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Dentils

    Dentils From the Latin word “dens,” meaning tooth, dentils are small blocks, usually wooden, placed in a horizontal row, often below the cornice or the eave. Because dentils were common in Greek and Roman architecture,...

    Read More
  • Posted in: Building Language Building Language: Terra Cotta

    Terra Cotta The terra cotta detail on the former State Bank building on Virginia Avenue in Fletcher Place is glazed in a Wedgwood blue color, mimicking the fine pottery produced at England’s famous Josiah Wedgwood...

    Read More