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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urban blight
Refers to the condition of urban areas characterized by general deterioration in the quality of existing buildings and infrastructural systems, often caused by adverse economic, environmental, or zoning forces.

urban forests
Forests comprised of the aggregate of all trees and associated vegatation found in and around a given urban area, including both individual street and park trees, and groupings of trees, whether on public lands such as greenways, or on private property.

urban landscapes
Landscapes with densely built-up districts and settlement areas and with distinctive skylines.

urban parks
Small parks serving central business districts, highly urban areas (including new towns), or commercial districts.

urban planning
Long term planning for additions and improvements to the spatial organization and content of urban areas. It concerns planning for interaction between people, businesses, government, transportation infrastructure, mass transit, water and power infrastructure, pollution, waste management, and other broad and long term interests in an urban setting. For the overall management of urban areas, encompassing the setting of objectives for urban life, the establishment of policies, and the planning, development, operation, and maintenance of the urban environment and services, use "urban management." For the field concerned with designing the specific appearance and function of cities, use “urban design.”

urban renewal
Activity of clearing, rebuilding, restoring, or refurbishing urban areas.

urban subdivisions
Generic designation for divisions of an urban area.

urban transportation
Generally, transportation in urban areas, whether by transit systems or private means.

urban universities (buildings)
Buildings that house universities located in and serving urban communities, although not necessarily maintained by municipalities.

urban villages
Mixed-use communities designed to combine residential sections in close proximity to employment, retail, and entertainment facilities linked by pedestrian-oriented thoroughfares; often located in suburban contexts.

Usonian houses
Term applied to a group of Frank Lloyd Wright's small, single-family houses constructed during the late 1930s and early 1940s and generally characterized by low cost, natural materials, open planning, and a close relationship between the building and the site and climate. The term was coined by the architect.

utility rooms
Rooms designed or used to house heating, laundry, or general maintenance equipment.

utopias
Places of ideal perfection, especially with regard to laws, government, and social conditions.

vacant lots
A subdivided residential, governmental, institutional, or commercial lot which contains no structures of a permanent or temporary nature.

vacation houses
Houses that are not the primary residence of the occupants, but are occupied primarily seasonally during vacations or otherwise for recreation.

variety stores
Stores in which small, inexpensive goods of various kinds are sold.

vaults (strong rooms)
Rooms for the safekeeping of valuables, commonly built of steel.

vaults (tomb spaces)
Spaces or containers for a casket in a burial site.

vegetable gardens
Gardens in which primarily vegetables are grown; normally of modest size, although may be extensive.

vegetation
Plants collectively, usually referring to plants or vegetal growths in a defined area. For the kingdom of plants, use "Plantae (kingdom)."

vernacular architecture
Architecture built of local materials to suit particular local needs, usually of unknown authorship and making little reference to the chief styles or theories of architecture.

vest-pocket parks
Very small city parks, directly adjacent to and usually between buildings in a densely built area.

vestibules
Spaces between the outer and inner doors to buildings, or for sheltered spaces, recessed in the mass of the building, just outside the outer doors. For spaces just inside the outer door but not separated from the building interior by any barrier such as a door, use "entrance halls."

veterans hospitals
Hospitals specializing in the treatment of men and women who have served in military service.

veterinary hospitals
Hospitals intended for the care and tretment of animals.

veterinary laboratories
Laboratories where tests and studies are done in the area of veterinary medicine or on specimens from animal patients at veterinary facilities.

viaducts
Bridges, usually resting on a series of arches, carrying roadways or railways over low-lying areas.

vicarages
Residences provided for clergymen, usually vicars.

video arcades
Amusement arcades that contain predominantly video games.

villages
Distinctions among villages, towns, and cities are relative and vary according to their individual regional contexts. Villages generally designate units of compact settlement, varying in size but usually larger than hamlets and smaller than towns and distinguished from the surrounding rural territory.

villas
Used since the Roman period to designate country houses, generally of some pretension, and often including their outbuildings and gardens.

vineyards
Tracts of land on which grapevines are cultivated; plantations of vines.

visitors' centers
Structures providing specific information about specific localities, buildings, or exhibitions through the display of printed or other material, or the sale or free distribution of literature.

vocational schools (buildings)
Buildings that house schools offering instruction in one or more skilled or semiskilled trades or occupations. For educational facilities traditionally training technicians in business, industry, and commerce, usually for an immediate local area, use "polytechnics."

wainscoting
Refers to panels of oak or other wood that is used to line the walls of a room. It often refers specifically to the decorative or protective facings applied to the lower portion of an interior partition or wall, whether of wood or another material. The term originally referred to a superior quality of oak from Russia, Germany, and Holland, that was used primarily for fine panel-work.

waiting rooms
Rooms furnished for the use of persons waiting, as in railroad stations or medical offices.

walkways
Outdoor pedestrian pathways, and similar bicycle or horseback riding paths, paved or unpaved, developed as a regular means of access from one point to another within a landscape. For indoor means of access see descriptors collocated under "circulation spaces."

wall towers
Towers incorporated into a protective wall, such as the wall around a city or castle.

walled gardens
Gardens, contained within walls, typically attached to a private residence.

walls
Vertical architectural members used to define and divide spaces. Vertical architectural members used to define and divide spaces.

war cemeteries
Refers to burial sites specifically for victims of a battle.

war memorials
Buildings or monuments commemorating those killed in war, often specifically for those from the local area and from one particular war, and frequently inscribed with the names of the fallen.

warehouses
Structures designed or used for the storage of commodities or merchandise.

Warren trusses
Trusses with parallel chords between which the braces and ties are set at the same angle so as to form a series of isoceles triangles, the diagonals of which are alternately placed either in tension or compression.

washhouses (outbuildings)
Outbuilding where washing is done.

wasteweirs (weirs)
Walls or dams to divert the flow of runoff or other superfluous water.

watchtowers
Any built structure used as a lookout station that affords observation of a surrounding area.

water activities
Describes activities that occur in relation to a body of water.

water distribution structures
Irrigation canals, pipes, pumps, and other structures and equipment for distributing water.

water features (landscaping)
Designates passive reflective or dynamic elements in the cultural landscape that incorporate water as the primary design feature; for naturally occurring areas of water use the descriptors under "bodies of water."

water gardens
Gardens incorporating fountains and pools in which aquatic and other water-loving plants are grown.

water mills
Refers to a device utilizing a water wheel or otherwise operated by water with the purpose of running a mill to grind grain or to produce or process a product. It may also typically refers to the building or structure housing or supporting the device.

water slides
Descending troughs partially filled with constantly moving water through which people may ride or slide, usually terminating in a pool of water.

water stairs (landscaped-site elements)
Landscape features that have water cascading or spilling down a stepped incline, usually in controlled channels; found in Islamic and 16th-century and later Italian formal gardens.

water storage tanks
Holding containers utilized to store water in private water supply systems.

water tables
Courses of stone projecting beyond the face of a wall to guide water away from the face of the wall. Courses of stone projecting beyond the face of a wall to guide water away from the face of the wall.

water tanks
Storage containers for water, ranging from large concrete tanks for storing drinking water to small porcelain tanks for storing water to flush a toilet.

water towers
Elevated reservoirs, usually in the shape of towers, into which water is pumped to maintain desired pressure throughout a distribution system.

water treatment plants
Facilities of the public water system designed to purify by altering the physical, chemical, biological, or radiological quality of the water or to remove any contaminants.

water wells
Wells sunk to extract water from a zone of saturation.

watercraft
Vessels that can float and are constructed for travel or transport on the water, such as a boat, ship, or raft.

waterfalls (natural bodies of water)
Perpendicular or very steep descents of the water of a stream. May be used for artificial waterfalls only if highly naturalistic in form and context; otherwise prefer "cascades" or "fountains."

waterfront spaces
Open water spaces located along a waterfront.

waterfronts
Spaces, land, or part of a city or town on the edge of body of water.

watersheds (drainage divides)
Areas defined by a line or narrow tract of land that separates the waters flowing into different rivers, river basins, or seas. For the areas drained by a river system, use "drainage basins."

waterways
Bodies of water serving as ways or routes for travel or transportation.

waterworks
The system of buildings, hydraulic structures, machinery, and other equipment by which a water supply is obtained, conveyed, and distributed to consumers in cities, towns, or neighborhoods.

weapons production centers
Communities of any size that have the production of weapons as a major industry.

weaving sheds
Buildings housing the looms for weaving.

weigh stations
Building or other facilities serving as a checkpoint along a roadway for the inspection of vehicular weights, usually limited to checking trucks.

weirs
Barriers or dams across waterways to regulate water level or divert or measure water flow, for example, to drive a mill wheel or as constructed on a canal or navigable river to retain the water and prevent overflow.

welfare buildings
Buildings containing facilities for record keeping or distribution of care, advice, or publications having to do with the general health and welfare of humans or animals.

well houses
Structures attached to the opening of a well.

wells (structures)
Holes, pits, or other generally vertical excavations cored, bored, drilled, or otherwise constructed in the earth for purposes of drawing out various liquids, such as water, brine, or petroleum, or natural gas.

wetlands
Large category including areas of land characterized by poor drainage, standing or slowly moving water, and as a result, an almost constant state of water-saturated soil. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, and bogs.

wharves
Structures built generally parallel to the shoreline so that vessels may moor alongside to receive or discharge cargo or passengers. For similar loading and unloading places built to extend from the shoreline out over water, use "piers (marine landings)"; if such places are artificial solid banks or shoreline extensions built parallel to the shoreline, use "quays."

wheelhouses (roundhouses)
Sheds for railway engines built around a central turntable, and often circular or semicircular in plan.

widows' walks
Railed, unroofed platforms surmounting the roofs of American houses offering a view, especially of the sea; for rooftop outlooks that are enclosed, use "belvederes"; for rooftop structures that are usually ornamental, use "cupolas."

wigwams
Houses of the Native Americans of the region of the Great Lakes and eastward having typically an arched top and consisting of a framework of poles overlaid with bark, rush mats, or hides.

wild animal parks
No description is available for this term.

wilderness
Designates wild and uncultivated regions that have been left untouched in a natural state by humans, with no human control or interference; distinct from "nature reserves" in which plant and animal communities are protected and controlled; distinct from "wilderness areas" which are lands where natural growth is protected by legislation, and recreation and industrial use are restricted.

wilderness areas
Areas of land whose natural growth is protected by legislation and where recreation and industrial use are restricted; for wild and uncultivated regions left untouched in a natural state with no human control or interference, use "wilderness."

wildlife refuges
Areas set aside for feeding, roosting, nesting, breeding, and habitat protection for species of animals and plants native to the region; also offering protection from hunting, and sometimes protection from predation and competition.

windbreaks
Fences, walls, or dense plantings of trees provided, usually in open areas, as protection against wind.

windmills
Buildings or devices with sails or vanes that turn in the wind and generate power. The devices operate by means of a rotating shaft on which sails are mounted or placed at an angle so that the force of wind against them causes rotation, which in turn produced energy. Windmills were historically used chiefly in flat districts for operating a mill to grind grain or pump water; the older and most characteristic European form consists of a conical mill-house with a dome or cap supporting four sails. Modern devices tap the wind to produce electricity by using a disk of sails mounted on a framework.

window heads
The upper horizontal cross members or decorative elements of window frames.

windowless buildings
Buildings having no windows.

wine cellars
Rooms in which wine is stored, whether below ground level or not.

wineries
Establishments for making wine, which is the fermented juice of the grape used as a beverage.

wings (building divisions)
Subsidiary parts of buildings extending out from the main portion.

wings (theater spaces)
The areas offstage and to the side of the acting area.

winter gardens
Use primarily for large greenhouses with plants and facilities for public entertainment, popular in the 19th century; may also be used for areas planted for winter display.

winter resorts
Facilities usually located on a mountain or large hill and designed for winter sports, typically skiing, snow boarding, and other such activities.

woodlands (plant communities)
Distinct vegetation landscapes dominated by trees, often used for grazing or hunting but not for timber or cultivation; for tracts of land with trees often acting as barriers or boundaries but otherwise minimally utilized, use "woods;" for timber-producing land or unmanaged wilderness of dense growth, use "forests (cultural landscapes)."

woodsheds
Sheds, usually detached outbuildings, in which wood, especially firewood, is stored.

woolen mills
Facilities that spin and weave wool into fabric.

workhouses (buildings)
Buildings that housed places of confinement and labor for paupers, vagrants, and the disabled or elderly poor from the 17th through 19th century in Europe and America. For buildings housing similar institutions intended to provide punishment and reformation of the criminal, use "houses of correction (buildings)." For welfare buildings providing charitable care for the poor, use "almshouses (buildings)."

workshops (work spaces)
Refers to public or private spaces set aside for manual or light industrial work. It may be used to refer to spaces in which fine art was created, particularly regarding art dating prior to the 16th century. It may also refer to spaces in which woodworkers, furniture makers, pottery makers, glass makers, and other craftspeople work. In the most general sense, it refers to spaces where goods of any type are made, prepared for sale, or sold. In modern usage, the term "studios" is generally used to refer to spaces for creating fine art dating from the 16th century to the present.

World Heritage Sites
Entities, including a site, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as exceptional examples of cultural values or natural phenomena.

world trade centers
Mixed-use buildings or groups of buildings providing facilities for public and private organizations involved in international trade.

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