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.

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A-frame houses
Houses with steep gable roofs that extend to ground level on two sides; constructed mostly for vacation and second homes.

abandoned buildings
Designates buildings or groups of buildings that are abandoned by their owners, often constituting potential public hazards. In a legal connotations, the term does not include buildings that are temporarily vacant or unoccupied.

abandoned dwellings
Structures, caves, or other accommodations that were designed or adapted for residential occupancy or other personal activity, and that are abandoned by their occupants or owners.

abbey churches
Churches that form the center of an abbey. They typically adjoin the cloister, are linked to the dormitory by a stairway called the "night-stair," and have an assembly room or chapter house, which is often attached to the chancel at the eastern side of the cloister.

abbeys (monasteries)
Designates independent and canonically erected monasteries, ruled by an abbot if occupied by monks and by an abbess if occupied by nuns.

Masses, usually of masonry, that support and receive the thrust of arches, vaults, or trusses.

academic libraries (buildings)
Buildings housing libraries that serve an academic institution.

academic libraries (institutions)
Libraries which serve an academic institution, such as a college or university, and which develop their collections to support the programs of their parent institution.

academies (buildings)
Buildings housing a learned society called an "academy," which exists for the promotion and education in art, literature, science, etc.

academies (institutions)
Organizations or societies of learned individuals united for the advancement of art, science, or literature, intended to provide instruction, to engage in intellectual life or the practice of an art, to set standards, disseminate information, and to confer prestige on its members. Generally refers to an educational level above elementary school.

access roads
Public roads giving direct access to the land, premises, or highways on one or both sides.

accessory industrial buildings
Buildings that are subordinate to other industrial structures, though used by the occupants of the primary structures.

active solar heating
Solar heating systems that include mechanical equipment and hardware to collect and transport heat; for solar heating systems without mechanical assistance, use "passive solar heating."

adaptive reuse
The conversion of outmoded or unused structures, such as buildings of historic value, and objects, such as software, to new uses or application in new contexts.

administration buildings
Buildings constructed or used for offices from which the management and other administrative duties of an organization or institution are conducted.

Adult club
No description is available for this term.

aeronautical museums (buildings)
Buildings housing museums that specialize in the history, objects, vehicles, and other materials associated with flight and space travel.

aerospace facilities
Complexes or structures having as a main purpose the launching of vehicles or rockets into the atmosphere or space, or having other functions having to do with space or air travel, for example designing testing space vehicles.

affordable housing
Designates housing for people who are unable to purchase or rent homes through normal marketplace mechanisms; includes such options as low cost housing, low income housing, shelters for the homeless, or mobile homes.

In ancient Greek settlements, open spaces used as marketplaces or general public meeting places. For similar spaces in ancient Roman settlements, use "forums."

agricultural buildings
Buildings used for the science or art of cultivating the soil, harvesting crops, or raising livestock, not used for human habitation, employment, or processing, and not used by the public.

agricultural land
Land suitable for agricultural production, both crops and livestock, including planted and harvested crops such as field crops, greenhouse crops, fruit and berry plantations, nurseries, orchards, vegetable gardens, fallow land, meadows, and natural pastures.

agricultural settlements
Relatively small settlements that grow up around farming activities; usually refers to early farming settlements.

agricultural structures
Built structures that are used in agriculture.

air bases
Bases for the operation of military aircraft.

air distribution systems
That part of a ventilation system which includes supply and return air ducts and plenum chambers.

air locks (airtight spaces)
Airtight spaces permitting passage between spaces of different air pressures or qualities, or between underwater and air-filled spaces.

air transportation complexes
Complexes containing facilities to accommodate people, functions, and vehicles having to do with air transportation.

Areas prepared for the landing and takeoff of aircraft; may or may not be provided with associated buildings, equipment, or other installations.

Typically refers to large tracts of open, level land upon which runways, hangars, terminals, and other buildings have been constructed to allow for the takeoffs, landings, loading and unloading, and maintenance of aircraft. For smaller areas that have a runway but no or few additional facilities, see "airfields."

Runways without normal airport facilities.

Includes both passages between sections of seats and the side divisions of buildings where the interior is divided into parts by columns or piers.

Use to designate small recessed spaces off of larger rooms.

Walkways bordered by formally planted trees, clipped hedges, or shrubs; usually found in formal gardens or parks. For wide, straight, usually tree-lined roads or approaches, use "avenues." For walkways or narrow streets between and behind buildings in an urban environment, use "alleys (streets)."

almshouses (buildings)
Buildings housing locally administered public or private institutions for care of the homeless, disabled, and elderly without means; often operated in conjunction with a farm. For earlier buildings where the disabled, elderly poor, or vagrants were confined for reform and work, use "workhouses (buildings)." For places established solely for the distribution of alms, use "almonries (buildings)."

Alpine skiing
Sport that evolved during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the mountainous terrain of the Alps in central Europe. Modern Alpine skiing is competitive, divided into speed events (downhill skiing and the supergiant slalom, or super-G) and technical events (slalom and giant slalom).

altars (religious fixtures)
Elevated platforms or constructions upon which religious sacrifice is offered. In a Christian church altars are platforms where Eucharistic elements are consecrated, in the ancient tradition of a sacrifice. Includes both indoor small, tablelike fixtures and larger, free-standing, outdoor structures. It consists of a horizontal part, the mensa, placed on various types of supports. For the surface at which communion is celebrated in Protestant churches, use "communion tables."

alumni centers
College buildings that house alumni associations and having entertainment and assembly facilities for graduates.

amphitheaters (built works)
Circular or elliptical structures in which a central performance area is surrounded by rising tiers of seats.

amphitheaters (rooms)
Usually semicircular rooms with steeply rising tiers of seats in which audiences may view such events as lectures or surgery.

amusement arcades
Entertainment buildings containing a variety of games and other amusements that can be played for a nominal fee.

amusement parks
Commercially operated areas containing rides, stalls, and shows, and other entertainment attractions intended to attract a large number of visitors.

amusement rides
Recreation structures containing vehicles or other devices in or on which people may ride for amusement for a nominal fee and for a limited time.

animal exhibition buildings
Exhibition buildings used specifically for exhibiting animals.

animal shelters (welfare buildings)
Urban buildings for the housing and care of homeless, lost, or abandoned animals, primarily dogs, cats, and other pets. Typically the animal is kept at the shelter until it is reclaimed by its owner, adopted by a new owner, placed with another organization, or euthanized.

annexes (building divisions)
Subsidiary supplementary structures, whether additions to a main building or separate from it, but usually visibly distinct and often with a separate entrance.

Rooms preceding or serving as a lobby or means of access to another and more important room.

Apartment complex
No description is available for this term.

apartment hotels
Hotels providing apartments, usually furnished, to long-term tenants and including some services not available to the general public. For similar housing but providing smaller accommodations for short- or long-term rental at very low rates, often with shared facilities, and fewer services, use "single room occupancy hotels."

apartment houses
Buildings, often multiple-story, containing more than one dwelling unit, most of which are designed for domestic use but sometimes including shops and other nonresidential features. Apartment houses have been in use since ancient times, notable examples having been known in ancient Rome and among ancient Native Americans. The apartment house as known today first appeared in Paris and other large European cities in the 18th century, when tall blocks of apartments for middle-class tenants became common.

Rooms or sets of rooms used as dwellings or private living quarters and located in houses, hotels, or within apartment houses.

Semicircular or polygonal extensions off of a larger space; common in Roman basilicas and Christian churches.

aquariums (buildings)
Buildings containing large tanks with transparent, usually glass, sides in which aquatic animals and plants are kept alive for purposes of observation, study, and display.

Man-made conduits for carrying water over long distances, usually by means of gravity, particularly structures that include channels and elevated sections on bridgelike structures, optimized by the Romans and based on inventions of earlier cultures. The term derives from Latin aqua, meaning "water," and ducere, meaning "to lead." In modern engineering, the term refers to any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and supporting structures used to convey water from its source to its main distribution point.

Botanical gardens devoted to the cultivation and exhibition of trees and other woody plants, rare or otherwise.

Light, open structures either formed from trees, shrubs, or vines closely planted and twined together to be self-supporting or formed from a latticework frame covered with plants; generally less extensive and less substantial than "pergolas."

arcades (structural assemblies)
Series of arches on the same plane and carried on piers, columns, or pilasters; either free-standing or attached to a wall (a "blind arcade"). The term is also used to denote a covered avenue with shops on one or both sides, which originally was set within an architectural arcade. Series of arches on the same plane and carried on piers, columns, or pilasters; either free-standing or attached to a wall (a "blind arcade"). The term is also used to denote a covered avenue with shops on one or both sides, which originally was set within an architectural arcade.

arch bridges
Bridges in which the main supporting elements are arches.

arch dams
Dams that resist water pressure by use of the arch principle and having, in plan, the form of a single arch abutted by natural rock formation.

archaeological parks
Archaeological sites that accomodate tourism and public use.

archaeological sites
Locations where human activities once took place and some form of material evidence has been left behind, particularly sites where evidence of past activity is being or has been investigated using the discipline of archaeology. Locations where human activities once took place and some form of material evidence has been left behind, particularly sites where evidence of past activity is being or has been investigated using the discipline of archaeology.

Structural elements, typically curved, spanning openings and transmitting vertical loads to either side of the opening; also, structural elements or freestanding structures that resemble arches or act structurally like arches.

architects office
No description is available for this term.

architectural centers
Buildings constructed as resource and information centers for documents, exhibitions, and other events and data of relevance to architects.

architectural office
No description is available for this term.

architrave trims
Trim or casings around the sides and top of a rectangular opening, having a molded form similar to an architrave.

archives (buildings)
Buildings that house archives, which are institutions that store, maintain, and care for non-active public records or other important historical documents. The facilities typically include shelves and drawers for storage of boxes, folders, and other containers or documents; areas of the facility may be climate controlled.

archives (institutions)
Institutions that store, maintain, and care for non-active public records or other important historical documents that are arranged as an organized body. The documents in an archive were received or originated in connection with the activities of an organization, institution or individual, and are preserved because of their continuing value.

archives (rooms)
Rooms or sets of rooms for the systematic maintenance and storage of records and documents.

Refers to openings under arches.

Open subsurface spaces around a basement window or doorway, adjacent to the foundation walls.

arena theaters
Theaters in which seating for the audience surrounds the stage in the middle.

arenas (sports buildings)
Use both for buildings housing central stages, rings, or areas used for sports or other entertainment events and for the central open spaces of ancient amphitheaters.

armories (military buildings)
Distinguished from "arsenals" by being used both for military training and storage of arms and equipment.

army bases
Permanent group of installations for which a local commander is responsible, consisting of support facilities necessary for army activities, including security, internal communications, and utility systems.

army camps
Military camps where army soldiers are stationed when training for, or fighting, a war.

army housing
Housing designed for or used by the army.

arroyos (landforms)
Flat-bottomed and often steep-walled dry watercourses occupied by streams only after heavy rains; common in the southwest United States.

arsenals (buildings)
Distinguished from "armories (military buildings)" by being exclusively a repository or magazine for arms and military equipment.

art centers
Cultural centers whose fine arts-related activities, such as art display, education, and production, are housed.

art galleries (buildings)
Buildings that house establishments in which works of art are displayed for sale. For buildings where works of art are housed and displayed for public benefit, see "art museums (buildings)."

art galleries (institutions)
Establishments in which works of art are displayed for sale.

art libraries (buildings)
Buildings that house specialized resources and facilities for pursuing investigation and research of art, architecture and design.

art museums (buildings)
Buildings, groups of buildings, or spaces within buildings where works of art are housed and displayed for public benefit. For stores in which works of art are displayed for sale, see "art galleries (buildings)."

art museums (institutions)
Institutions that collect and maintain works of art displayed for public benefit.

art parks
Public spaces that feature sculpture, earthworks, or other art-forms as an integral part of their design and use.

art schools (institutions)
Institutions that provide training in the creation of fine and decorative arts, established primarily for the instruction of artists but often endowed with other functions, such as providing exhibition space for students and mature artists who have been accepted as members.

arterial streets
Urban thoroughfares handling major portions of traffic, often larger than most streets and having medians; use primarily when referring to the flow of traffic within a transportation system.

artesian wells
Wells bored into a confined aquifer which overflow the wellhead, because the water level of the aquifer lies above the level of the wellhead; the water rises under its own pressure through the borehole.

artificial lakes
Lakes or reservoirs created behind a dam or other man-made structure.

artificial ski slopes
Usually small structures with artificial surfaces, often plastic, upon which to practice skiing.

artists' colonies
Rural settlements occupied primarily by artists in environments perceived to be sympathetic to creative endeavors; historically, formed especially to escape urban life or to be near nature or simple country life.

Refers to Indian religious communities whose members focus on religious study and meditation and lead lives of austere self-discipline. Such communities or retreats are usually secluded and center around a Hindu philosopher or religious teacher.

assembly halls
Buildings designed or intended for people to gather in auditorium or similar seating arrangements, for social or civic functions.

assembly plants
Factories where parts for a complete unit are put together, as in automobile manufacturing.

assembly rooms
Rooms, primarily of the 18th century, in which social gatherings and balls (commonly referred to as assemblies) were held.

astronautical museums (buildings)
Buildings housing museums that focus specifically on the history of space travel and astronauts.

asylums (welfare buildings)
Buildings used as refuges for the sick or destitute who need care rather than medical treatment; for institutional facilities treating the mentally ill, use "psychiatric hospitals" or "psychiatric clinics," and for those treating the chronically ill, use "sanatoriums."

Buildings housing the reading room and library for a given association of people interested in scientific and literary pursuits, who meet for the purpose of mutual improvement.

athletic clubs
Buildings with sports and recreation facilities offered only on a membership basis.