A Southwest Glossary: Architectural Terms—A to L

Last year, my readership asked me to devote several posts to a glossary of terms used in Brainwash and Gadgets. Most are specific to the southwestern region of the United States. I’ve also added a few terms that will appear in CLON-X as Darcy and Rio will return to New Mexico to resolve some unfinished business. Yes, I made a slight change to the Clonx title, to ensure correct pronunciation. The title is the name of Catherine Lord’s cloning company in book four of the Darcy McClain and Bullet Thriller Series.

The glossary gives a description of each term and includes a photo(s) for easy identification. I also plan to do a photo blog series showing the exact locations chosen for certain scenes in the novels—for example, the crime scene in the arroyo on Darcy’s land in Taos (Brainwash). The glossary will be divided into three parts: architectural, geographical, and a flora/fauna/miscellaneous terms.

Architectural Terms

Adobe
Sun-dried mud bricks. Also a house made of adobe bricks. The bricks are made from mud mixed with straw, formed into blocks, and placed in the sun to dry and harden. Photo: ManYee DeSandies, Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.

Banco
Adobe (or facsimile) bench built at the base of a wall.

 

Canale
A drain spout that protrudes through the parapet of a flat roof. Its function is to drain rainwater and melting snow off the roof. Most canales are not installed on the north side of a house, because discharged rainwater can refreeze in shaded areas and an ice dam can form on the roof, preventing drainage.

Corbel
A short carved wooden beam that sits on top of a post.

Cricket
A cricket or saddle is a ridge structure designed to divert water on a roof. They are usually seen around the high side of a chimney or the transition from one roof area to another. Crickets might be barely discernible on a flat or low-sloping roof, but they should be there to divert water to the canales or else water will puddle along the parapet where it meets the roof. See also canale and flat roof. Drawing: http://www.wholesaletimber.net

Flat Roof
The term “flat roof” is a misnomer, as the roof is not technically flat, nor should it be level. A flat roof should have some pitch as well as crickets to ensure water drainage to the canales. A minimum slope of 1/4” per foot is what is expected of flat roofs. The cricket in this flat roof is quite pronounced. See also canale and cricket.

Kiva
A small “beehive-shaped” fireplace, usually built into a corner. You can see these semicircular fireplaces in both indoor and outdoor variations and some will have an attached bench (banco) for a cozy place to enjoy your fire. See also banco.

Latillas
Latillas (sticks), are relatively straight, slender saplings about 1–2 inches in diameter, stripped of bark and laid across the log roof beams (vigas) as decking.

Lintel
A lintel is a header or horizontal support of timber, stone, concrete, or steel across the top of a door, window, or other wall opening. Left, lintel across the top the windows with vigas supporting the roof overhang. Right, lintel across the top of a door.

Next week: A Southwest Glossary: Architectural Terms N to V.

 

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