In architecture, a hall is a relatively large space enclosed by a roof and walls. In the Iron Age, a mead hall was such a simple building and was the residence of a lord and his retainers. Later, rooms were partitioned from it, so that today the hall of a house is the space inside the front door through which the rooms are reached. Where the hall inside the front door of a house is elongated, it may be called a passage, corridor, or hallway.
In later medieval Europe, the main room of a castle or manor house was the great hall. In a medieval building, the hall was where the fire was kept. With time, its functions as dormitory, kitchen, parlour and so on were divided off to separate rooms or, in the case of the kitchen, a separate building.
Many buildings at colleges and universities are formally titled "_______ Hall", typically being named after the person who endowed it, for example, King's Hall, Cambridge. Others, such as Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, commemorate respected people. Between these in age, Nassau Hall at Princeton University began as the single building of the then college. In medieval origin, these were the halls in which the members of the university lived together during term time. In many cases, some aspect of this community remains.
At colleges in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Hall is the dining hall for students, with High Table at one end for fellows. Typically, at "Formal Hall", gowns are worn for dinner during the evening, whereas for "informal Hall" they are not.
A hall is also a building consisting largely of a principal room, that is rented out for meetings and social affairs. It may be privately or government-owned, such as a function hall owned by one company used for weddings and cotillions (organized and run by the same company on a contractual basis) or a community hall available for rent to anyone.
In religious architecture, as in Islamic architecture, the prayer hall is a large room dedicated to the practice of the worship. (example : the prayer hall of the Great Mosque of Kairouan in Tunisia). A hall church is a church with nave and side aisles of approximately equal height.
Following a line of similar development, in office buildings and larger buildings (theatres, cinemas etc.), the entrance hall is generally known as the foyer (the French for fireplace). The atrium, a name sometimes used in public buildings for the entrance hall, was the central courtyard of a Roman house.
In architecture, the head "double-loaded" describe corridors that connects to rooms on both sides. Conversely, a single-loaded corridor only has rooms on one side (and possible windows on the other). A blind corridor doesn't lead anywhere.
- Billiard hall
- City hall, town hall or village hall
- Concert hall
- Concourse (at a large transportation station)
- Convention center (Exhibition hall)
- Dance hall
- Dining hall
- Great room or great hall
- Moot hall
- Prayer hall, such as the sanctuary of a synagogue
- Reading room
- Residence hall
- Waiting room (in large transportation stations)
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Foster, Gerald L.. American houses: a field guide to the architecture of the home. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. 90. ISBN 0618387994
- Stanford Anderson and Colin St. John Wilson, The Oxford companion to architecture, Volume 1, Oxford University Press, 2009, page 477
- Sturgis, Russell. Sturgis' illustrated dictionary of architecture and building: an unabridged reprint of the 1901-2 edition. VOl. II. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 1989. 346-347
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Hall.|