Ch 3: Design Elements & Symbols

About This Chapter

This self-paced chapter offers a fun exploration of architectural design elements and symbols. Use bite-sized lessons, multiple-choice quizzes and other study resources to improve your understanding of these elements and designs while enhancing your preparations for an upcoming assignment, quiz or test.

Design Elements & Symbols - Chapter Summary

If you are interested in gaining a better understanding of design elements and symbols without taking traditional classes, you've reached the right place! This online chapter offers entertaining lessons you can access from home or anywhere with an Internet connection. Learn about corbels in architecture, the triquetra and other elements and symbols at your own pace. When ready, test your knowledge of this subject by taking lesson quizzes and a practice exam. Completing this chapter will enable you to:

  • Define and discuss the uses of corbels in architecture
  • Describe styles of cornices in architecture
  • Discuss the history of the triquetra
  • Explain the design and history of the quatrefoil

21 Lessons in Chapter 3: Design Elements & Symbols
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What are Corbels in Architecture? - Definition & Uses

1. What are Corbels in Architecture? - Definition & Uses

When decorating, designers add decorative features that mimic architectural supports from older houses. One feature is a corbel, which is usually a triangle shaped piece of metal or wood designed to assist in holding up a beam or part of a wall.

Triquetra: Definition & History

2. Triquetra: Definition & History

Some symbols are used by many different cultures. Have you ever heard of an Irish Trinity Knot? In this lesson, explore the history of an ancient symbol called the triquetra.

Quatrefoil: Definition, Design & History

3. Quatrefoil: Definition, Design & History

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover? Did it bring you good luck? Its shape recalls a design element called a quatrefoil. In this lesson, learn about the history of the quatrefoil.

What is a Cyclorama? - Definition & Buildings

4. What is a Cyclorama? - Definition & Buildings

Have you ever stood in the middle of a drama as it unfolded around you? You would if you entered a painted cyclorama. In this lesson, learn the definition of a cyclorama and explore some examples.

Trefoil in Architecture: Definition & Design

5. Trefoil in Architecture: Definition & Design

Trefoils have been used as symbols and imagery for thousands of years. In this lesson, learn about the origins of the trefoil and its role in architecture.

Acanthus Leaves: Architecture, Design & Symbolism

6. Acanthus Leaves: Architecture, Design & Symbolism

Have you ever seen carved leaves used as building decorations? They might have been acanthus leaves. In this lesson, explore the meaning and use of the acanthus leaf in architecture.

Finials: Definition, Design & Types

7. Finials: Definition, Design & Types

Have you ever noticed an interesting decoration on the very tip of a tower or flagpole? You might have been looking at a finial. In this lesson, explore what a finial is and how this architectural element is used.

What is a Spandrel?

8. What is a Spandrel?

In old buildings, the triangular area between arches is sometimes highly decorated. In skyscrapers, horizontal shapes or beams sometimes denote sections between floors. What do these have in common? In this lesson, explore spandrels in architecture.

Marquetry: Definition, Techniques & Design

9. Marquetry: Definition, Techniques & Design

Can you make a picture with many small pieces of wood? Have you ever seen a table with an intricate wooden design on its surface? In this lesson, learn about marquetry, what it is and how to do it.

Facade in Architecture: Definition & Design

10. Facade in Architecture: Definition & Design

Have you ever paid attention to the front of a building? Was it welcoming, imposing, or dramatic? You might have been reacting to the design of its facade. In this lesson, explore what a facade is in architecture.

What is a Baptismal Font? - Definition & Design

11. What is a Baptismal Font? - Definition & Design

There are many parts of a Christian church, each with symbolic and ritualistic function. In this lesson, we'll explore the baptismal font, and see how this item came to be.

Guilloche: Definition, Design & Architecture

12. Guilloche: Definition, Design & Architecture

Architecture is about more than structural support; it's also about design. In this lesson, we'll look at a popular form of architectural ornamentation, and check out some examples.

Cartouche in Architecture: Definition & Examples

13. Cartouche in Architecture: Definition & Examples

Have you ever looked up at a building and noticed a decorative, framed oval over a door or entrance? It might have been a cartouche. In this lesson, find out what a cartouche is, and how they're used in architecture.

What is a Beehive Oven? - History & Method

14. What is a Beehive Oven? - History & Method

Have you ever baked a loaf of bread? What if you had to make your oven and heat it with fire before using it? In this lesson, learn about the history and use of beehive ovens.

Iconostasis: Definition, History & Designs

15. Iconostasis: Definition, History & Designs

In this lesson, learn about a characteristic art piece of the Orthodox and Eastern Christian churches: the iconostasis. Discover the history of this board of religious images, and explore some common elements that are included in its designs.

Greek, Byzantine & Russian Iconostases

16. Greek, Byzantine & Russian Iconostases

In this lesson, we explore the evolution of iconostases in the Byzantine Empire and examine how they developed in Russia and Greece. Also, we learn about the similarities and differences of the pieces found in these regions.

Arabesque Designs & Patterns: Islamic & Western

17. Arabesque Designs & Patterns: Islamic & Western

Have you ever drawn a curving, decorative line? Similar winding lines are found in a design called an arabesque. In this lesson, explore Islamic and Western variations of the arabesque.

What is a Dwarf Gallery in Architecture?

18. What is a Dwarf Gallery in Architecture?

Some architectural features are purely structural, while others are not. In this lesson, we are going to check out the dwarf gallery and see how it's been used in architectural history.

Exedra & Mihrab: Definitions & Designs

19. Exedra & Mihrab: Definitions & Designs

Even different architectural forms can share similar backgrounds. In this lesson, we'll check out the history of exedrae and mihrabs, and see how they've been used in architecture.

Acroterion: Definition & Architecture

20. Acroterion: Definition & Architecture

There were many parts to a Greek temple, but not all were structural. In this lesson, we are going to check out the acroterion and see how it was used by ancient architects.

Palmette Design: Egyptian, Greek & Roman

21. Palmette Design: Egyptian, Greek & Roman

The palmette is one of the most ubiquitous symbols of the ancient world, but what does it mean? In this lesson, we'll explore the significance and history of this common motif.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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