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Glossary: Architectural Terminology of the Region

Bdgir: A type of wind-catch into which wind can flow from several directions, generally four, but also two. A septum that is the height of the vertical channel prevents wind from flowing in one entrance and out another. Highly developed in Iran and the Arab countries surrounding the Gulf. The word in Persian is (bdgir), which appears to be the source of the word in Arabic.

Brise-soleil: A projection, louvers or a screen, used to block out unwanted sun rays.

Claustrum (pi. Claustra): Decorative moldings or tracery used for air passage.

Dur-q'a: The central space of the q'a.

Iwn (pl. Iwnat): A recessed covered space open to the center of a q'a, the dur-q'a, or, often through a loggia, to a courtyard.

Jli: A lattice screen, used in South Asia for air passage. Also written jolly or jalee. From the Hindi word jli.

Kunja: The space between buttresses in a q'a used as a raised sitting alcove or built-in cupboards. Probably from the Persian word for corner or nook kunj.

Loggia: An open-roofed gallery or arcade on the side of a building with a height of one or more stories and not projecting from the surface of the building.

Madyafa: A guest house or guest room.

Malgaf: A device for capturing wind at a high point of a building. The word literally means catcher.

Mashrabiya: Wooden lattice screens which can be placed in the window of a q a, in a dur-q'a, in an oriel window, or elsewhere.

Q'a: A main hall of a house or building, usually the reception area for receiving male guests.

Sahn: An internal courtyard.

Sahrigi: A mashrabiya pattern with large lattice spacing, usually placed above another pattern to permit air circulation.

Salsabil: A type of fountain, consisting of a decorated sloping marble slab over which water flows.

Squinch: A support, usually an arch or a lintel, carried across the corner of a room below a superimposed mass.

Tablinum: A room or alcove between the atrium and the peristyle of an ancient Roman house.

Takhtabush: A covered outdoor sitting area at groundlevel located between the main courtyard and another courtyard, possibly the back garden.


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