Glossary

The innovation wave of the twentieth century brought thousands of new materials to the building industry. From vinyl siding to terrazzo flooring, corrugated glass to fiber-reinforced plastics, with every decade came new products that have come to shape the aesthetic of our built environment. Innovations in architecture both inspired and were inspired by these new materials, creating building design elements unlike those of traditional architecture. Features such as the cantilever and the ribbon window are a few of the iconic design features that made up 20th century architecture. Many of these materials and design elements are no longer common or even produced but remain present in our built environment. When approaching the management and preservation of our current building stock, it is important that we are able to identify the physical characteristics of the structures, as a basis for identifying them and assessing their condition. Here we have compiled a glossary of common building materials and architectural elements of recent past buildings, intended to help accurately identify the physical makeup of recent past resources.