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Architectural Details & Trim / Styles & Glossary

The style of modern accents and trim evolved from many artistic and architectural styles through the ages. Although most moldings are either classic (clean) or baroque (ornate) style, modern effects can be achieved by combining various trim and molding styles. Explore various architectural styles, their attributes, picture examples and visual glossary of terms below.

 Ancient Description

(also known as the New Stone Age)
Megalith system[7000 - 3000 B.C.] cave dwelling, wattle and daub simple dwelling construction combined with timber and huge erected stones (megaliths) like Stonehenge.
 Egyptian Stepped stone pyramid[3000 - 30 B.C.] royal tomb pyramids and temples constructed of layered cut stone block or hollowed out rock tombs. Columned or pillared halls, porticos (entryways) and sacred chambers embellished with historical or royal inscriptions and relief scuptures.
 Greek Post-and-lintel system[1200 - 30 B.C.] post-and-lintel (roof support) design. Colonnade porticos (entry ways) and roof detail including cornice surrounding the pediment on either end of the building length. Interior walls spanning the length of the building segment into rooms and provide roof support. Characterized by symetric geometry and flanked with columns, captials, cornices and pediments in a grid system.
Barrel vaultsCross barrel vaults
Series of cross barrel vaults
[200 B.C. - 500 A.D] concrete coupled with formal engineering invented a new age of architecting both positive and negative space. Rounded arches, arcades (series of supported arches), vaults (elongated arch) and domes enabled buildings to have vast, un-broken spaces eliminating the need for support based designs of the past. These were enhancements from Greek and Etruscan design elements.
 Middle Ages Description
 Romanesque [900 - 1150 A.D.] fortress like cathedral construction seeking to be fire and destruction proof which influenced the use of thick heavy stone work including the roof.
 Gothic [1120 - 1500 A.D.] deviated from classic architecture of the Greeks and Romans by using pointed arches (not semi-circular or restricted to two arches per vault) and ribbing along the intersections of all arches. Analogous to a web or skeletal framework from which the building is encased. This style of architecture saught to increase the amount of light by opening up the interior space with many narrow pointed arches per vault and was mainly used for cathedrals. High gothic architecture saw the creation of the flying buttresses which were extensions of ribs from interior vaults to the outside, connecting downward to the floor level to complete the skeletal structure.
 Renaissance [1350 - 1500 A.D.] Italian art and architecture characterized by embellished Roman art and architecture.
 Baroque [1600 - 1750 A.D.] the age of discovery brings a passion to design. Overly ornate classical motifs and excentric mathematic architecture accented with bright colors and gold trim.
 Romantism [1750 - 1850 A.D.] opposition and departure from elaborate Baroque architecture, moving toward simple design which leads to Gothic revival.
 Neoclassical [1850 - 1900 A.D.] Greek and Roman revival.
 Modern Description
 Art Nouveau [1850 - 1940 A.D.] Flambouyant ornate motifs with strong organic curves. Architecture depicts cross lined designs, rouned corners and intersecting planes.
 Art & Crafts [1870 - 1960 A.D.] stylistic design of furniture and interior wood work emphasizing minimalistic design carried out through precise craftsmanship. English and Dutch origination.
[1910 A.D. - present ] open expanses characterized by planes made possible through reinforced steel and concrete of the industrial age. Juxtaposition of form with elongated horizontals emphasized as seen in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright's work. Ornamental use is discontinued in favor of minimalism. This style remains pevelant in today's architecture.
 Bauhaus [1925 - 1950 A.D.] exploitation of the international style with segmentation of space into modular units showcased in glass, screens and moveable walls. The movement emphasized the study of all aspects of art including performance, music, design, painting, and architecture as a cohesive whole.
 Post Modern [1925 - 1980 A.D.] departure from generalized style into individual expression through innovative use of new building technology and materials to differentiate the structure, space and experience from all previous styles. The Guggenheim Museum by Frank LLoyd Wright exemplifies the flambouyant deviation from all previous architectural movements.

Classical Architectural Detail & Trim Glossary

Visual Glossary Showing Treasury
Capital (as seen above) A decorative device generally placed at the top of a column.
Chair rail Surround room at chair back height to prevent scuffing and damage to walls.
Column (as seen above) May be load bearing or purely for looks. Typically has a capital at the top and base at the bottom.
Corbel (as seen below) A decorative device like a Capital generally used for Pilasters, mantels, or load bearing shelf support.
Crown molding (as seen below) Where the wall meets the ceiling to hide uneven surfaces and provide visual interest.
Frieze / Dentil molding (as seen below) Typically below crown moldings, refers to a decorative band. The term dentil refers to the toothed pattern that alternating blocks give.
Medallions  Ornate accents applied to the ceiling and can act as chandelier focal points. The designs usually radiate out from center in ivy, floral, and celtic motifs.
Pediment (as seen above) An ornamental accent found above entry ways and windows..
Pilaster (as seen below) A rectangular column typically topped with a capital or corbel and trim for the base.
Picture / plate rails Surround room near top of wall to facilitate hanging pictures. They range from a shallow shelf to slotted trim to accept a picture hooks.
Portico Entrance area including facade.
Rosette Small version of a medallion used to accent a mantel, wood wook or curtain draw post.
Wall Niche Recessed container used to showcase decorative elements like vases.

Treasury Detail Shot

First century classic architecture featuring pillaster, capital, corbel, dentil molding and other elaborate ornamental detail entirely subtracted from cliff walls. Lower left door and window detail of Treasury (Al-Khazneh) - Wadi Musa, Jordan. See above photo for placement.

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