SAH Archipedia uses terms from the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) to categorize and classify metadata for the entries in the database. For more information on the Getty AAT, click here

Click on the icon to view the definition of the selected term.

face brick

The better quality of brick such as is used on exposed parts of a building, especially those parts which are prominent in view.

Fagus (genus)

Genus having ten species of deciduous, smooth-barked trees native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Trees have pale reddish-brown, close-grained wood valued for flooring, cabinetry, furniture, panel painting, and other uses. Beech nuts provide forage for game animals and yield an edible oil.

Fagus grandifolia (species)

Species of large deciduous tree up to 35 meters in height, native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia to Texas, having a pale reddish-brown timber that is hard, tough, fine-grained, and used for furniture and other purposes. The bark is smooth and gray. Leaves are simple with veins and toothed edges. Fruit comprises a large husk containing 2 shiny brown edible nuts. The wood is acidic, pinkish brown in color with dark brown rays.

Fagus sylvatica (species)

Species of large, long-lived beech tree found throughout England and Eurasia; it passes 30-40 years in the juvenile stage, during which time there is rapid growth but no flowering. It can grow to 49 m (160 feet) in height; it has a smooth gray bark and a hard, heavy wood. European beech trees are often grown in large hedgerows.

faience (composite material)

A composite material consisting of a body of sintered quartz coupled with an alkaline glaze surface, and used for decorating beads, amulets, figurines, and other small objects. It was invented in Mesopotamia or Iran ca. 4500 BCE, and produced through the mid-7th century CE.

faience tile

Glazed or unglazed ceramic tile which shows characteristic variations in the face, edges, and glaze that give a handcrafted, non-mechanical, decorative effect.


Semicircular windows over doors or other openings with radiating bars giving the appearance of an open fan.


Refers to all of the animals or animal life of a particular area or time period.

Favrile glass (TM)

Trademark name for a type of glass developed by Tiffany and Company with an iridescent surface simulating that of excavated ancient Roman glass; this effect was produced by spraying the surface of the glass while hot with metallic salts.


General name for a large group of aluminum silicate minerals, usually white or flesh-red in color, occurring in crystals or in crystalline masses. Feldspars are divided into three primary groups: potassium aluminum silicates (orthoclase, microcline), sodium aluminum silicates (albite, anorthoclase), and calcium aluminum silicates (anorthite). A few of the feldspars are found as gemstones such as moonstone, sunstone, and Amazon stone, but most are found in mineral structures, such as granite and diorite. They are used in the production of clays, ceramics, glass, concrete, abrasives, for cleaning, as a flux in ceramics, glazes, and glass, in fertilizer, and in granular roofing material.

ferruginous sandstone

A soft sandstone containing red iron oxide, having a reddish-brown color.


A rigid composite board of pressed cellulose, generally composed of wood chips or plant fibers, such as grass, reed, straw, bagasse, jute, flax, hemp, or recycled waste materials such as sawdust, bark, oat hulls, spent hops, newspaper and peanut shells. The fibers are compressed and bonded with heat and pressure. Many fiberboards are held together by the interlocking fibers and natural adhesives (wet process); other fiberboards have additional adhesive components such as urea formaldehyde resin, water glass, dextrin, asphalt, rosin, paraffin wax, plaster, and/or clay.


Generic term for glass fibers, glass fabrics, and resins reinforced with glass fibers; fiberglass is strong, lightweight, nonflammable, with a high tensile strength. The material dates to 1893, when spun glass fibers were made into fabric by Edward D. Libbey and exhibited at the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. Owen-Corning developed several processes for making fine, continuous glass fibers in the 1930s, which were sold under the trademark of ‘Fiberglas.’ Over time, the term 'fiberglass' became generally used for all glass fiber products.


Concrete containing fibers of such materials as glass, asbestos, wood, steel and plastic in order to reduce weight and increase tensile strength.

field turf
No description is available for this term.


Loose stone found on the ground or in the soil.

figured glass

Generally, glass used in architecture that is cut, embossed, sandblasted, or otherwise embellished.

filbert (wood)

Soft reddish white wood from any of 15 species of the genus Corylus in the birch family. The wood is used generally for small objects such as handles.

filler (inert additive)

An inert powder added to a base material such as a paint, pigment, adhesive, plastic, paper, fabric, wax, or concrete. Fillers may serve multiple purposes such as: extend a matrix, dilute a color, decrease cost, provide bulk, increase strength, improve working properties or generally enhance performance. Examples of materials that are used as fillers are acrylic, calcium carbonate, barium sulfate, clay, diatomaceous earth, glass fibers, glass spheres, gypsum, sand, starch, talc, titanium dioxide.

fir (wood)

Wood of the tree from the genus Abies, although other coniferous evergreen trees are commonly called firs. Timber is typically inferior to that of spruce or pine, but it is used for lumber and pulpwood.

fire brick

Bricks made of refractory ceramic material which will resist high temperatures; used to line furnaces, fireplaces, and chimneys.

fireclay (clay)

Clay capable of withstanding very high termperatures without fusing or softening; used especially for firebrick and crucibles.

fired brick

A frequently used building brick, composed of clays or shales (and sometimes other materials), which has been fired to hardness in a kiln.

fish scale shingle
No description is available for this term.

fitch (hair)

Fur from a European polecat, dark in color. It is used in the fur trade. It is also used in paint brushes, valued for its elasticity.

fixed windows

Windows or portions of window units that are designed not to open.

No description is available for this term.


Refers to large flat sections of slate used for paving and also bluestone cut for this purpose.


Motifs of a conventionalized depiction of flames, usually wavy, peaked forms.

flax (fiber)

Fiber derived from the bast or skin of the stem of the species Linum usitatissimum. Soft, flexible fibers are produced by retting the stem of the flax plant, then washing and cleaning the fibers. Flax fibers of thinner and longer than cotton, but the fiber tube has thicker walls resulting in a stronger thread. Additionally, flax fibers are used for linen fabric, thread for making shoes and bookbinding, fish line, and twine. Waste flax fibers are used in banknotes, cigarette covers, and writing and drawing paper.

Flemish bond (masonry technique)

Technique of bond in which headers and stretchers alternate horizontally and vertically, each header being centered with regard to the stretcher above and below.

Flemish brick

Hard, yellowish paving brick.

flint (rock)

The dark gray or black variety of chert.

float glass

Sheet glass made by floating a ribbon of hot glass on a bath of heated liquid, usually molten tin. The process was developed in 1959 by Pilkington Brothers and is now the world's principal method of manufacturing good quality sheet glass which is clear, flat, with parallel and fire polished sides.

floor brick

Smooth, dense brick which is highly resistant to abrasion; used for finished floor surfaces.

floor tile

Tile used as finish flooring.

flora (plants)

All of the plants or plant life of a particular region or time period.

flower (plant material)

Material comprising flowers, which are the reproductive portion of any plant in the division Magnoliophyta (Angiospermae).

fluorescent lighting

Lighting by fluorescent lamps. Lighting by fluorescent lamps.

fly ash

Finely divided particulate matter resulting from the burning of pulverized coal or wood, often emitted as an airborne pollutant at power and manufacturing plants. Current practice in the United States is to trap and recover fly ash; used as a filler in brick and concrete.

foam (material form)

A gas-liquid continuum in which bubbles of gas are contained in a much smaller volume of liquid which is expanded to form bubble walls.

foamed concrete

A very light, cellular concrete made by adding a prepared foam or by generating gas within the unhardened mixture.

folded plate structures

Structural systems based on one-way plates given additional stiffness by folding into a series of long, narrow planes, the typical sections resembling a series of interconnected Ws or splay-sided Us.

forests (cultural landscapes)

Historically, refers to wilderness areas outside the scope of common law but within the legislation of kings and reserved for royal activities; more recently, used to designate extensive wooded areas, whether maintained for the production of timber or unmanaged and preserving a wilderness of dense growth and wild animal habitats. For forests in the context of a plant community rather than as a cultural landscape, use "forests (plant communities)."

Formica (TM)

Plastic laminate made by bonding layers of materials such as canvas, glass, paper, or linen with thermosetting resins. May be used to refer to the trademarked product and to similar materials.

fossil fuel

Combustible, carbonaceous material such as coal, petroleum, natural gas, and oil shales that are formed through the decay of remains of organisms during the geological past.

fossiliferous limestone

Limestone that contains fossils.


Remains, impressions, or traces of humans, animals, or plants of past geological ages that have been preserved in the earth's crust. The complex of data recorded in fossils worldwide--known as the fossil record--is the primary source of information about the history of life on Earth. Only a small fraction of ancient organisms are preserved as fossils, and usually only organisms that have a solid and resistant skeleton are readily preserved.

found objects

Objects, natural or human-made, unaltered or only slightly altered, presented by an artist as works of art in themselves or used as parts of works of art.

foundation stones (wall components)

Refers to any supporting stones in the foundation of a structure, often of a rougher or different texture than the stones used in the upper part of the building.


Structures with apertures designed to allow water to spout or flow periodically or continuously, as for amenity or public access.

frame construction

Types of construction in which walls, partitions, floors, and roof are wholly or partly made of wood.


Stone, as sandstone, that may be cut freely in any direction without fracture or splitting.

French tile

Type of interlocking roof tile, heavily corrugated and formed with interlocking side joints and a rounded bull nose butt edge to engage the corrugations of the course immediately below.

frescoes (paintings)

Paintings made by the technique of fresco painting, which is a mural painting technique in which permanent pigments, dispersed in water, are painted on freshly laid lime plaster.

fresh water (water by property)

Water that does not contain a large amount of salt, as in ponds, lakes or streams.


Pulverized material made from flux, sand or other refractory that has been fused with heat but not fully vitrified; often used in making glazes and may contain a coloring ingredient which will give the glaze coloring throughout.