AskDefine | Define edifice

Dictionary Definition

edifice n : a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place; "there was a three-story building on the corner"; "it was an imposing edifice" [syn: building]

User Contributed Dictionary



Middle English edifice, from Old French edifice, reborrowed from Latin aedificium "building", derived from aedificāre "to build, establish" (whence also edify).


  • US: /ˈedɪfɪs/, /"EdIfIs/


  1. A building; a structure; an architectural fabric, especially an imposing one; a large or fine building, public or private.


Extensive Definition

In architecture, construction, engineering and real estate development the word building may refer to one of the following:
  1. Any man-made structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous occupancy, or
  2. An act of construction.
To differentiate buildings and other structures that are not intended for continuous human occupancy, the latter are called non-building structures. Structural height in technical usage is the height to the highest architectural detail on building from street-level. Depending on how they are classified, spires and masts may or may not be included in this height. Spires and masts used as antennas are not generally included.


Buildings serve several needs of society. Along with access to food and drinking water, the need for places that are protected from the outdoors and where one can comfortably live, work, eat, sleep, procreate or engage in leisurely activities has always been a top priority for humans. A building as a shelter represents a physical division of the human habitat into the inside (a place of comfort and safety) and the outside (a place that at times may be harsh and harmful). Humans have a remarkable drive to reflect on their lives and express themselves through art. Ever since the first cave paintings, buildings have become objects of artistic expression. In recent years, interest in sustainable planning and building practices has increased in the U.S.


The first shelter on Earth constructed by a relatively close ancestor to humans is believed to be built 500,000 years ago by an ancient ancestor of humans, Homo erectus.
Over centuries, homes were technologically advancing. Some were simply inhabited caves, while others were made of dried mud or stone. In these times, there were little furnishings in these homes, besides perhaps a family altar or a table for eating.
Before the invention of the lift, few buildings were higher than five stories. In the New World, the Anasazi built three- and four-story towers in the 12th and 13th centuries AD.
When Elisha Otis invented the passenger elevator, buildings could be built much higher. Today, the Sears Tower has 108 stories.



Residential buildings are called houses/homes. Single family and multi-family dwellings are typically built as shelter and living space. These building types may range from one-room wood-framed, masonry, or adobe dwellings to multi-million dollar high-rise buildings able to house thousands of people. The definition of a low-rise vs. a high-rise residential building is being debated, but generally three stories or less is considered low-rise.


A multi-story building (American English, Multi-storey Building British English) is a building that has multiple floors (stories (storeys in British)) above ground in the building.
Multi-story buildings aim to increase the area of the building without increasing the area of the land the building is built on, hence saving land and, in most cases, money (depending on material used and land prices in the area, of course).


The practice of designing, constructing, and operating buildings is normally a collective effort of different groups of professionals and trades. Depending on the size, complexity, and purpose of a particular building project, the project team may include:
Regardless of their size or intended use, all buildings in the US must comply with zoning ordinances, building codes and other regulations such as fire codes, life safety codes and related standards.
Vehicles—such as trailers, caravans, ships and passenger aircraft—are treated as "buildings" for life safety purposes.

Building ownership and funding

Building services

Conveying systems

Systems for transport of people within buildings:
Systems for transport of people between interconnected buildings:


edifice in Arabic: مبنى
edifice in Bulgarian: Сграда
edifice in Czech: Budova
edifice in Danish: Bygning
edifice in German: Gebäude
edifice in Estonian: Hoone
edifice in Modern Greek (1453-): Κτίριο
edifice in Spanish: Edificio
edifice in Esperanto: Konstruaĵo
edifice in Basque: Eraikin
edifice in French: Bâtiment (construction)
edifice in Western Frisian: Bouwurk
edifice in Korean: 건축물
edifice in Indonesian: Bangunan
edifice in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Edificio
edifice in Italian: Edificio
edifice in Hebrew: מבנה
edifice in Lithuanian: Statinys
edifice in Hungarian: Épület
edifice in Dutch: Opstal (bouwwerk)
edifice in Japanese: 建築物
edifice in Norwegian: Bygning
edifice in Polish: Budynek
edifice in Portuguese: Edifício
edifice in Quechua: Wasichay
edifice in Russian: Здание
edifice in Simple English: Building
edifice in Slovak: Stavba
edifice in Slovenian: Zgradba
edifice in Serbian: Грађевина
edifice in Finnish: Rakennus
edifice in Swedish: Byggnad
edifice in Tamil: கட்டிடம்
edifice in Thai: อาคาร
edifice in Ukrainian: Будівлі
edifice in Chinese: 建築物

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Dymaxion house, White House, adobe house, architecture, building, casa, cliff dwelling, construct, construction, consulate, country house, country seat, dacha, deanery, dwelling house, embassy, erection, establishment, fabric, farm, farmhouse, hall, house, houseboat, hut, lake dwelling, living machine, lodge, manor house, manse, packaged house, parsonage, penthouse, pile, prefab, prefabricated house, prefabrication, presidential palace, pyramid, ranch house, rectory, roof, skyscraper, sod house, split-level, structure, superstructure, tower, town house, vicarage
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