Time for another MissPres Architectural Word of the Week! If you want to check out any previous word you can do that here. As always our example photographs come from the MDAH Historic Resources Database. This week’s word is along the same vein as our last word, Scagliola.
This week’s word is brought to you by the letter T as defined by William J. Hornung’s Architectural Drafting:
Terrazzo: (tə-ˈra-(ˌ)zō) A combination of marble chips and cement, used in floor construction, ground and polished to a high finish.
While Terrazzo likely derives its name in part from Tessera (which is the small marble, glass, or tile piece used in mosaics), Terrazzo construction and its appearance are more inline with the 18th century Italian technique “Paviemento alla Veneziana” which literally translates to “Venetian floor.”
Modern Terrazzo took off in popularity with the introduction of electric grinders. Terrazzo is often identifiable due to the metal dividers that separate larger squares of flooring. These metal expansion control joints relieve stress and keep the floor from cracking while adding to the decorative patterns.
Do you have a favorite building in Mississippi that has Terrazzo floors? If so please share! You can learn more about today’s Terrazzo industry by visiting the website of the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association. So keep your eyes out for this and the previous MissPres Architectural Word of the Week. You just never know where they will pop up next!