Word of the Day

Today’s architectural vocabulary word is astragal. Isn’t that the coolest word ever? Totally my new username if I ever sign up for any new websites ever again.

An astragal has nothing to do with outerspace (the origin is a Greek word that, as near as I can figure out, means both ‘ankle bone’ and ‘molding’… not sure what that says about Greek architecture) and everything to do with the shape to the left.

An astragal is something with a roughly semi-circular profile. That something can be either a ring around the top or base of a column, or more often in contemporary architecture, a molding around the top of a room (a crown molding), or a molding that covers the gap between a pair of doors or casement windows (this gap-covering strip seems to be the most common usage). As long as it’s convex and round, it’s an astragal. I had to look it up because it was in the notes for one of the details on the community center I’ve been working on for the last week or so (drawings have been submitted!), and wow, I do not think I would have guessed that.

And now you know.

And here’s a bonus money saving tip for you to ponder in these thrifty times: “Poor performance leads to costly callbacks that everyone dreads.” Or so says Endura, home of the Ultimate Astragal.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 and is filed under architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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2 Responses to “Word of the Day”

  1. Anne

    Talk about sychronicity, I was just dealing with that word too! In a completely different context- I was checking the English translations of French subtitles of this newly restored print of J’Accuse at work, and in it the charming hero writes a poem where he uses astragals at the end of a line… it made very little sense in the French version, it turns out, he probably just liked the word (?) and we were struggling to figure out what to do with it in English. Astragalus is also very popular and common in Chinese apothecaries, used as an energy tonic and immune support, which can also help you avoid “poor performance and costly callbacks” so, see, it’s all related somehow!


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