Columns & Pilasters Glossary Of Terms
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Abacus: The uppermost member of a capital.
Acanthus: A plant found in Southern Europe whose leaf is the model for Corinthian capitals.
Architrave: A lintel in stone or beam of timber carried from the top of one column to another; the lowest member of the entablature.
Astragal: The decorative ring near the top of a column shaft.
Base: The lowest member of a column. The true Doric column has no base.
Capital: The topmost member, usually decorated, of a column or pilaster.
Column: A vertical shaft or pillar, usually circular, in section that supports, or appears to support, a capital, load beam or architrave.
Corinthian: The most elaborate of the three orders of Greek architecture, distinguished by a bell-shaped capital with a design of acanthus leaves.
Doric: The oldest architectural style of ancient Greece; characterized by simplicity of form; fluted, heavy columns with simple capitals and no bases.
Entablature: The superstructure carried by columns; usually divided into 3 parts: architrave (the supporting member resting on the columns), frieze (the decorative portion) and cornice (crowning and projecting member).
Entasis: The curving taper of an architecturally correct column. Usually begins at a point 1/3 the column length from the floor. Used as an optical correction to make tall columns appear straight.
Flutes: The vertical channels in the shafts of columns.
Ionic: The order evolved in the Ionian and eastern Greek world. Characterized by scroll-like decorations.
Pilaster: A rectangular or half-round vertical member, projecting slightly from a wall, with a base and capital as with a column.
Plinth: The square block at the base of a column, pedestal or statue.
Volute: The spiral scroll of the Ionic capital.
Column Wraps: A column wrap is a split column intended to wrap an existing structural support.
Pilasters: A pilaster is simply half a column