Looking at Buildings

Building Types


Building Types

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The Parthenon

The architect...is called upon to erect buildings for every conceivable purpose...railway buildings;...churches; hotels; public libraries, office and mercantile structures, school-houses and college buildings; theatres, exhibition buildings, casinos, jails, prisons, municipal buildings, apartment houses, and all other structures which must be accommodated to the complicated conditions of modern society

H. van Brunt, "On the Present Condition and Prospects of Architecture" (1886)

One of the most rewarding ways of looking at buildings is in terms of their types, from school to town halls. The pages in this sectionGlossary Term have been designed to provide a short introduction to some of the major categories of building type. As the site expands the number of choices will grow, each of which will be supported by illustrated examples, interactive guides, sources for further reading and other research. There are two choices during the first phase of the site:

Inside Building Types:

Religious Buildings

Provides an introduction to the variety of religious buildings from the great medieval cathedrals to mosques, temples and synagogues, with explanation of their appearance, planning and function.

Railways Stations

A history of the rise and decline of railway architecture and explanation of the functions of the variety of buildings associated with the development of rail transport.

Castles & Defences

Domestic Buildings



Two-dimensional representation of a building, moulding etc., revealed by cutting across it.