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1. a floor covering of pieces of hardwood fitted in a decorative pattern; parquetry
2. a floor so covered
3. US the stalls of a theatre
4. (in France) the department of government responsible for the prosecution of crimes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A flat inlay pattern of closely fitted pieces, usually geometrical, for ornamental flooring or wainscoting; often employing two or more colors or materials such as stone or wood.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



small, planed wooden laths used to cover a floor; also the flooring made from such laths.

Parquet is usually laid in dwellings and public buildings in which intensive wear is not anticipated. It is distinguished by its beauty, durability, and low conductivity of heat and sound. Parquet is usually made from such hard woods as oak, beech, ash, maple, birch, elm, and hornbeam. Precious woods, such as walnut and mahogany, are used for particularly opulent interiors. There are several types of parquet.

Pieced parquet consists of individual pieces of wood measuring 150 to 450 mm long, 30 to 60 mm wide, and 16 mm thick (for coniferouswoods, 19 mm thick). The edges have grooves and ridges so that the pieces fit together tightly. The use of pieced parquet in modern civil engineering is limited because of the large amount of high-quality lumber required, the great expense, and the labor intensiveness of installation.

Mosaic parquet consists of pieces of wood measuring 400 X 400 mm or 600 X 600 mm in perimeter, each of which is made up of small laths (8 to 12 mm in thickness). The top of the laths is covered with special paper that is completely removed after the parquet is laid. A layer of sound-absorbent material, such as rubber or foam plastic, is sometimes glued to the bottom to decrease sound-conductivity.

Another type of parquet has two layers: the lower layer (the base) consists of laths or boards made from lower grades of wood, whereas the upper layer is made up of small pieces of high-quality wood. The layers are joined together by waterproof adhesives. The edges of the parquet panels have grooves and ridges for tight interlocking when the floor is laid. The panels measure from 1,200 to 3,000 mm in length, 145 or 160 mm in width, and 25 to 27 mm in thickness (the surface layer accounts for 6 to 8 mm).

Another type of parquet consists of a base made of square sheets of wooden or wood-fiber boards and a surface layer, glued over the base, made of small pieces of hard wood. The sheets measure 800 X 800 mm or 400 X 400 mm and have a thickness of 13 to 30 mm (the surface layer accounts for 8 mm).

The last two types of parquet are produced in factories in preassembled form with their surface already covered with parquet lacquer, which substantially reduces the cost of the floor and the labor required to install it. The durability of a parquet floor depends in large measure upon its use. Special polishes or lacquers are applied to prevent dirt penetration and reduce wear.


In French the term parquet originally designated a small park or enclosure. In the 14th to 17th centuries the word came to be applied to a carpeted part of a hall in a king’s palace especially reserved for the granting of audiences. In the 17th century a surface of wooden laths (in Russia, “oak brick”) replaced the rug and came to be known as parquet. The polychrome palace parquets of the late 18th century, made of such precious woods as mahogany, rosewood, and ebony, are noted for their intricate patterns. The artistic effect of these parquets also included the tonal play of the wooden surfaces arising from changing illumination of different sections of the floor.


Solov’ev, K. A. Russkii khudozhestvennyi parket. Moscow, 1953.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Inlaid wood flooring, usually set in simple geometric patterns.
2. Same as parquetry.
3. The lower floor of a theater, or the section of seats in an opera house, music hall, or theater extending from the musicians’ area to the parquet circle.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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