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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athletic fields
Expanses of generally level open space intended primarily for highly organized games and sports, often supplied with spectator seating and delimiting fences or walls. For buildings with tiers of seats surrounding such fields, use "stadiums."

atomic research centers (buildings)
Establishments used for studying atoms, including atomic physics, atomic weapons, or atomic energy.

atrium houses
Ancient Roman houses or similarly styled houses containing internal courtyards with impluvia but without colonnades; for houses with internal courtyards having colonnades, use "peristyle houses."

atriums (church courtyards)
Refers to the colonnaded forecourts of Early Christian churches.

atriums (interior spaces)
Refers to many-storied, skylit spaces in or between high-rise buildings, common since 1960.

atriums (Roman halls)
The main inner halls of Roman houses having a compluvium (opening in the roof) for rainwater and an impluvium (rectangular basin) to collect the water.

attics (exterior stories)
Use to designate the exterior walled portions of buildings, above the uppermost cornice, whether fenestrated or not.

attics (interior spaces)
Enclosed spaces under sloping roofs, between the roof and the ceiling of the uppermost story, especially in houses, whether used for storage or habitation. For open platforms in houses set close to ceilings or for large spaces below the roofs of commercial buildings or warehouses, use "lofts (upper level floors)".

auction houses (buildings)
Buildings designed or used for public sales in which each bidder offers an increase upon the price offered by the preceding, the article put up being sold to the highest bidder.

Rooms or entire buildings designed for a variety of activities such as would occur on a stage before a seated audience; for rooms or buildings used only for theatrical performances, use "theaters;" for rooms with fixed seating designed for lectures, use "lecture halls."

Automats (TM)
Self-service restaurants where patrons insert coins to open small glass doors to retrieve individual items of food or drink.

automobile factories
No description is available for this term.

automobile manufacturers
Refers to people or corporate bodies who own or run manufacturing plants for making automobiles, which are self-propelled vehicles designed primarily to transport passengers over ordinary roads.

automobile racetracks
Tracks, usually oval in shape, designed or used primarily for the racing of automobiles; surfaces may be made of dirt, asphalt, brick, or another material.

automobile showrooms
Includes both places where automobiles are displayed and entire dealership complexes including the sales-and-service building and surrounding lot.

automotive museums (buildings)
Buildings housing museums that specialize in the history, objects, vehicles, and other materials associated with self-propelled vehicles designed primarily to transport passengers over ordinary roads.

autonomous communities
Designation given to certain communities within a nation that have a degree of independence, administer their own affairs, or are otherwise self-governing to some degree. The precise definition of "autonomous community" varies from nation to nation, and is typically assigned to the community by the nation, rather than being assigned by an outside body. Examples of autonomous communities are in Spain.

Wide, straight, usually tree-lined roads or approaches; for walkways in gardens or parks bordered by formally planted trees, use "allées."

Relatively large enclosures or cages for confining live birds; distinguished from "birdhouses" which are smaller structures that house birds but do not confine them.

Theater spaces behind the proscenium arch or behind the back wall of the stage setting, including, for example, workshops, dressing rooms, and storage areas; in arena theaters, often includes spaces behind or under seating areas.

Areas of virtually stagnant water that are joined to a stream but relatively unaffected by its current.

baggage rooms
Rooms for receiving, checking, and handling luggage.

An outbuilding containing an oven used for baking bread. May be combined with a brewery or other functional structures. May be found associated with farmhouses, hospitals, monasteries, or other major structures.

Buildings or parts of buildings where bread and other baked goods are prepared; it may include a space for the retail sale of baked goods.

Very small balconies, usually not large enough to stand on and consisting of little more than a protective railing.

Railed platforms projecting from the exterior walls of buildings. Use also for similar interior features, when small. For larger platforms which extend the length of one side of a room or are recessed behind an arcade, use "galleries (upper level spaces)."

baldachins (canopies)
Canopies over such features as thrones, altars, tombs, or doorways; may be suspended, projecting, or free-standing. For roofed structures with columns built over altars, use "ciboria (structures)."

Large rooms designed for formal dancing or any room in which balls are routinely held.

balusters (railing components)
Short vertical members used to support a stair handrail or coping, often circular in section with a vase-shaped outline. Used also in furniture, as on the backs of chairs.

Parapets or low screens composed of balusters and carrying a rail or other horizontal member that is usually heavy in proportion to the balusters themselves.

band shells
Concave, acoustically resonant structures at the back of outdoor bandstands.

Structures with raised platforms on which a band or orchestra plays; often roofed when sited outdoors.

bank barns
Two-story barns, usually dug into a hillside thus providing ground-level entrances to both stories.

banking rooms
Rooms in banks open to the public for doing business and generally containing the tellers' stations, writing desks, and sometimes also officers' platforms.

banks (buildings)
Buildings that house establishments for the custody of money received from, or on behalf of, customers, with the essential duty of payment of the orders given on it by the customers. Banks' profits arise mainly from the investment of the money left unused by the customers. Bank buildings typically have indoor counters and windows where customers may make transactions, often with bars or other security devices securing the window, offices where bank officials may meet with customers, vaults for the secure storage of money and other valuables, and other security devices and measures. Exterior bank architecture traditionally imitates a Greek temple, although many other styles are employed as well.

banquet halls
Large rooms, halls, or apartments designed or used for festive or state functions.

Refers to separate buildings or parts of buildings containing a font for the baptismal rite.

Buildings in which the primary activity is shaving and the cutting and grooming mens' beards; also includes the cutting, dressing, or styling the hair of customers, usually men.

Boards which hang from the projecting end of a roof, covering the gables; often elaborately carved and ornamented.

Agricultural buildings with large, usually sliding doors, prominent roofs, and predominantly open spaces on the interior, primarily used as storage buildings for hay, grains, and farm equipment and shelters for livestock; does not include those structures, often termed barns, used for the processing of food and other agricultural produce, such as hop barns and tobacco barns.

Yards connected to and associated with a barn; usually fenced livestock yards separated from general work and activity areas.

Buildings or sets of buildings erected as common living quarters for groups of soldiers or workers.

barrel vaults
Vaults of plain, semicircular cross section supported by parallel walls or arcades.

Objects or sets of objects that separate, keep apart, demarcate, or serve as deterrents.

bars (commercial buildings)
Establishments with counters where beverages, usually liquors, and light meals are served to customers.

bas-relief (sculpture technique)
Sculptural relief technique in which the projection of the forms is relatively shallow.

bas-reliefs (sculpture)
Refers to works executed in relatively shallow relief.

bascule bridges
Bridges in which sections of the span are pivoted upward by use of counterweights. For bridges whose sections are pivoted upward by chains, cables, or other ropelike devices, use "drawbridges."

baseball fields
Athletic fields designed or used for playing baseball.

Use to designate stories wholly or partly underground. For similar spaces used solely for storage, particularly food, prefer "cellars."

basilican plan
Plan of buildings, typically churches or ancient Roman structures, that has an oblong footprint, a nave, side aisles, an apse, and clerestory.

Refers to religious or secular buildings characterized by an oblong plan divided into a nave with two or more side aisles, the former higher and wider than the latter and generally lit by clerestory windows; usually terminated by an apse.

bastioned forts
Fortifications that incorporate enclosed earthworks with bastions (projecting portions) at the angles where the curtain walls meet. They are designed to provide coverage by defensive weapons, which are able to fire from the projecting portions along the fronts of the curtain walls.

bathhouses (water recreation structures)
Use only for structures containing dressing rooms or lockers for bathers, as at the seashore. For buildings housing public swimming and bathing facilities, use "public baths."

bathing beaches
Beaches set aside for or used by people immersing themselves in the water and exposing themselves to the sun and air for recreational purposes.

Rooms containing a bathtub or shower, and usually a toilet and lavatory; for rooms containing only a toilet and lavatory, use "lavatories (rooms);" for public facilities containing toilets and lavatories, use "rest rooms."

batteries (platforms)
Fixed platforms on which artillery is mounted.

battlefield parks
Historic sites where significant battles are memorialized; used specifically in reference to Civil War battlefield sites in the United States, some of which are also National Parks.

Locations where a hostile meetings of opposing military forces in the course of a war have taken place.

Fortified parapets with alternate solid parts and openings.

bay windows
Windows, either single or in a series, forming a bay or recess in a room and projecting outward from the wall in a rectangular, curved, or polygonal form.

Denotes marshy creeks or other sluggish swampy watercourses, generally found along the lower Mississippi River and other alluvial lowlands.

bays (building divisions)
Refers to repeated, similar divisions or compartments of a building or part of a building, as defined by recurring architectural features, such as arches, vaults, openings, or pilasters.

beach houses
Houses located on or adjacent to a beach, whether the structure is the primary or seasonal residence of the occupants.

Shores comprised of an accumulation of sediment, such as sand or pebbles, along the edge of a sea or lake, and formed by coastal processes such as waves and tides.

beading (edging pattern)
Enrichment consisting of a line of tiny beads; common on silver and furniture.

bearing walls
Walls that support a vertical load in addition to their own weight. Walls that support a vertical load in addition to their own weight.

beauty shops
Buildings or parts of buildings designed or used for hairdressing, manicures, facials, and make-up application, typically having stalls or areas for individual hairdressers to do their work, large mirrors, and facilities for hairdryers and other equipment.

Inns, hotels, or private homes offering a room for the night and breakfast the next morning for one inclusive price.

Rooms designed for or used to contain a bed or beds for sleeping.

beds (furniture)
Generally, the sleeping places of humans and animals. Specifically, permanent pieces of furniture comprised of a bedstead, which is the wooden or metal support, and the bedding, including the mattress and cover.

beds (site elements)
Areas of gardens or lawns demarcated from their surroundings and devoted to the cultivation of a particular group of plants.

beehive houses
Designates a class of simple dwellings, circular in plan and with beehive domes.

beehive ovens (kilns)
Kilns used to convert coal into coke, characterized by a dome-shaped roof.

beehives (apiaries)
Receptacles for the habitation of swarms of bees. Natural beehives are made in caves, rock cavities, and hollow trees; some subgenera of bees have exposed aerial combs. The beehive's internal structure is a densely-packed matrix of hexagonal cells made of beeswax, a honeycomb. The bees use the cells to store honey and pollen, and to house eggs, larvae, and pupae. Artificial structures for beehives have been made since ancient times. Early artificial structures were made in a conical or dome-like form using straw or the like, but now artificial beehive structures are often square boxes constructed with movable compartments for the removal of the honey.

beer cellars
Cellars in which beer is stored.

beer gardens
Distinguished from other drinking establishments (e.g., bars, saloons) by being family-oriented, by having chairs and tables rather than a bar, by emphasizing food as much as beer, by having music, and by being more impersonal than saloons.

beer halls
Establishments chiefly serving beer and usually offering entertainment.

belfries (equipment spaces)
Rooms or spaces in which bells are hung in a tower; for the entire tower structure, use "bell towers."

belfrys (sheds)
Use only for vernacular British sheds for cattle, wagons, or farm equipment from the 16th to the 18th century.

bell towers
Towers fitted and prepared for containing bells, can be either freestanding or attached to buildings or other structures. Their footprint can be either round or rectangular (typically square). For the spaces in which bells are hung, use "belfries."

Highways built around the perimeters of urban areas.

Rooftop pavilions intended as lookouts or for the enjoyment of a view. For unroofed platforms, use "widows' walks"; for rooftop structures that are primarily ornamental, use "cupolas," for small pavilions, in a garden setting, intended for enjoyment of a view, use "gazebos."

benches (furniture)
Long seats for two or more people, with or without a back, usually of wood, but also of stone, metal, or another material. A bench is distinguished from a stool by its greater length.

bents (structural frames)
Frameworks usually designed to carry both lateral and vertical loads and that are transverse to the length of a framed structure.

berms (landscaped-site elements)
Banks of earth piled against exterior walls.

berths (waterfront spaces)
Unoccupied, open water spaces allotted to vessels when alongside a landing place; when such spaces are set between adjacent piers or perpendicular to landing places, use "slips (waterfront spaces)." Use "docks" for open water spaces when occupied by vessels made fast to landing places.

bicycle paths
Paths, paved or unpaved, specifically designed or designated for use by bicyclists.

billboards (site elements)
Flat surfaces or boards, sometimes substantial structures, constructed for or used for posting announcements or advertisements.

billiard rooms
Rooms intended primarily for playing billiards.

bingo halls
Buildings, generally having large open interior spaces, that accommodate a series of tables on which bingo, and derivative games, can be played.

Basins or other receptacles filled with water and usually placed in gardens or on lawns for birds to drink from or bathe in.

Enclosures, often resembling houses, built as resting, nesting, or feeding places for birds; distinguished from "aviaries" by the lack of emphasis on confinement and by their relatively small size.

bituminous coal
A relatively soft coal containing the tarlike substance asphaltic bitumen. Its carbon content is 60-80%, the rest composed of water, air, hydrogen, and sulfur. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than anthracite. It was usually formed as a result of high pressure on lignite. It dark brown to black in color, commonly banded or layered. The major problem with burning of bituminous coal is air pollution. A relatively soft coal containing the tarlike substance asphaltic bitumen. Its carbon content is 60-80%, the rest composed of water, air, hydrogen, and sulfur. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than anthracite. It was usually formed as a result of high pressure on lignite. It dark brown to black in color, commonly banded or layered. The major problem with burning of bituminous coal is air pollution.

blast furnaces
Large, vertical structures for smelting iron from ore, using a solid fuel, designed so as to direct a continuous blast of air through the fuel to assure a high rate of combustion.

Benchlike tiered seating for spectators at, for example, outdoor sporting events, usually without weather or sun protection, affording less advantageous views than grandstands; may also be used for similarly constructed, often telescoping, indoor seating.

blind arches
Arches in which the opening is permanently closed by the wall construction.

blinds (shelters)
Camouflaged or otherwise purposely concealed places in which hunters, especially wildfowl hunters, hide from game, or for similar lightly built structures for observing wildlife at close range.

Fortified log structures with loopholes or ports in their sides which permit gunfire in all directions.

boarding schools (buildings)
Buildings that house boarding schools, which are educational institutions at the elementary-secondary level in which students are in residence while enrolled in an instructional program.