Architecture: Basic Resources for Research

The following is a selective guide to basic research resources available at Avery Library, intended to give an overview of materials that may be useful in beginning research. To view other research guides, return to Avery Library Subject and Research Guides. Ask a librarian if you need reference assistance or have any further questions.

Two more comprehensive guides will also be very helpful in beginning your research:

Architecture and Building: Resources by Topic

Compiled by Jeanne Brown, Architecture Studies Librarian at the Architecture Studies Library at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Topics covered include architecture, building and construction, design, housing, planning, preservation, facility management, energy and the environment, and landscape architecture.

Guides to Architectural Research

Produced by UC Berkeley's Environmental Design Library, this is an extensive guide covering such topics as American architecture, building and landscape types, climatic design, green design/sustainable architecture, history of architecture, professional practice, and vernacular architecture.

Biographical Sources For Architects and Architectural Firms

American architects: a survey of award-winning contemporaries and their notable works. New York: Facts on File, 1989.

Entries for 400 architects.
Avery Reference AA684 K86

Biographical dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) [also known as Withey]. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 1994.

For architects active between 1740 and 1952.
Avery Reference AA736 W7711

American architects directory. 1st.ed. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1956

Over 9,000 listings of living architects in the United States who are members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), including birth date, education, AIA affiliation and built work.
Avery Reference AA50 Am35

American architects directory. 2nd. ed.New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1962

Over 15,400 listings of living architects in the United States who are members of the American Institure of Architects (AIA), including birth date, education, AIA affiliation and built work.
Avery Reference AA50 Am351

American architects directory. 3rd. ed. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1970

Over 23,000 listings of living architects in the United States who are members of the American Institure of Architects (AIA), including birth date, education, AIA affiliation and built work.
Avery AA50 Am3511 (copies available in multiple locations)

Biographical dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) [also known as Withey]. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 1994.

For architects active between 1740 and 1952.
Avery Reference AA 736 W7711

Biographical dictionary of British architects, 1600-1840. 3rd. ed. [also known as Colvin] New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

Some entries include a list of projects, both built and unexecuted.
Avery Reference AA996 C7211

Contemporary architects. New York: St. James Press, 1994.

Information on major international architects. Includes chronological list of works and a bibliography.
Avery Reference AA 40 C761

Directory of British architects 1834-1914. London; New York: Continuum, 2001. 2 vol.

Information on 11,200 architects including education and training, professional qualifications, works, personal details, and a selected bibliography.
Avery Reference AA996 D621

International dictionary of architects and architecture. Detroit: St. James Press, 1993. 2 vol.

Two volume set covers 523 architects and 467 buildings that have figured prominently in Western architectural history. Information on architects includes a chronlogy of major works and a bibliography. Illustrated with photographs and floor plans.
Avery Reference AA31 In8

Macmillan encyclopedia of architects. New York: Free Press, 1982. 4 vol.

Biographical information on international architects. Includes a chronology of works and a brief bibliography.
Avery Reference AA 31 M223

Makers of 20th century modern architecture: a bio-critical sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1997.

Entries on international architects, firms and confederations. Includes extensive bibliographies.
Avery Reference AA650 J62

Who's who in architecture: from 1400 to present. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1977.

500 major architects from Europe, the Americas, Israel, the British Commonwealth and Japan.
Avery Reference AA40 W62 (copies available in multiple locations)


Encyclopedia of American architecture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994.

Entries includes information on architects, building types, and building materials.
Avery Reference AA705 H911

Encyclopedia of 20th century architecture. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004. 3 vol.

Broad coverage of architecture produced between 1900 and 2000. Covers persons, places, and architecture topics such as building types, schools and movements, and stylistic and theoretical terms. Includes listings of selected works, selected publications and a bibliography.
Avery Reference AA650 En19

Encyclopedia of vernacular architecture of the world. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. 3 vol.

Thematically divided into two parts: theories and principles, and, cultures and habitats.
Avery Reference AA200 En19

Oxford art online

Full-text encyclopedia with coverage of architects, architectural history, and architectural styles and movements.

Style Guides

American architecture since 1780: a guide to the styles. Cambridge. Mass.: MIT Press, 1992

Photographs and descriptions precede the discussion of the history of each style.
Avery Reference AA705 W571 (copies available in multiple locations)

Architectural styles: an historical guide to world design. New York: Facts on File, 1982.

Covers antiquity to the present day, including non-European civilizations. Includes a section titled "Main Features That Distinguish Styles" and a glossary. Includes drawings, plans, details and photographs.
Avery AA204 P84332

Architecture styles spotter's guide: classical temples to soaring skyscrapers.

San Diego, Calif.: Thunder Bay Press, 2006
Discussion of architecture styles and notable buildings. Includes photographs and an illustrated glossary of architectural terms.
Avery Reference AA204 Ar28

Concise history of architectural styles. London: A. & C. Black, 2003.

From Ancient Egypt to the early 19th century. Features an illustrated chapter that covers ten elements common to architecture of almost all periods and countries. Includes glossary of terms.
Avery Reference AA204 C74

Field guide to American architecture. New York: New American Library, 1980.

Divided into four building types: residential, ecclesiastical, civic and commercial, and utilitarian. Includes 450 line drawings which illustrate representative examples of American buildings, as well as some photographs.
Avery AA705 R44 (copies available in multiple locations)

Field guide to American houses. New York: Knopf, 1984.

Treatment of major architectural fashions and styles. Illustrated with photographs, maps, and line drawings.
Avery Reference AA7205 M12 (copies available in multiple locations)

Pelican history of art.

Multi-volume survey which covers international art and architecture of all periods from ancient to modern. Each volume covers a specific country and time period. Search CLIO under title "Pelican history of art" for a complete listing.

Visual dictionary of American domestic architecture. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1994.

Comprehensive look at types, periods and styles, showing regional and stylistic variations. Contains 500 detailed illustrations.
Avery Reference AA7205 C19

What style is it? a guide to American architecture. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley, 2003.

Descriptive photographs and illustrations accompanied by explanations to help identify the most significant styles of American architecture.
Avery Reference AA705 P811

Architectural Terms and Concepts

Architecture and ornament: an illustrated dictionary. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1998.
Avery Reference AA31 M29

Dictionary of architecture & construction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
Avery Reference AA31 H24413

Elements of style: an encyclopedia of domestic architectural details. London: Mitchell Beazley, 1991.
Avery Reference AA2840 El2711

Historic architecture sourcebook. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1977.
Avery Reference AA31 H62 (copies available in multiple locations)

Illustrated dictionary of building design + construction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.
Avery Reference AA31 B893

Illustrated dictionary of architecture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.
Avery Reference AA31 B891

Graphic and Time-Saver Standards

Graphic Standards

Architectural graphic standards. 8th ed. New York: Wiley, 1988.
Avery Reserves AA3105 R14115 (copies available in multiple locations)

Architectural graphic standards. 11th ed. New York: Wiley, 2007.
Avery Reserves AA3105 R141191 (copies available in multiple locations)

Interior graphic standards. New York: Wiley, 2003.
Avery Reserves AA3105 M17

Landscape architectural graphic standards. Hoboken: Wiley, 2007.
Avery Reserves AA9517 L22945

Planning and urban design standards. Hoboken: Wiley, 2006.
Avery Reserves AA9035 P69

Time-Saver Standards

Time-saver standards for architectural design data. 7th ed.New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Avery Reserves AA3105 Ar25311

Time-saver standards for architectural lighting. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Avery Reserves AA3125 St32533

Time-Saver standards for building materials & systems. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Avery Reserves AA3102 T48

Time-saver standards for building types. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Avery Reserves AA2750 D35113

Time-saver standards for housing and residential development. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995.
Avery Reserves AA7540 T481

Time-saver standards for interior design and space planning. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Avery Reserves AK2137 T481

Time-saver standards for landscape architecture. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
Avery Reserves AA9517 T481

Time-saver standards for urban design. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Avery Reserves AA9035 T48

Time-saver standards: site construction details manual. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999.
Avery Reserves AA9517 D594

Multilingual Dictionaries

Diccionario temático de arquitectura, urbanismo y construccion = Topic dictionary of architecture, urbanism and construction. Madrid: Fundacion General de la Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, 1992.
Avery Reference AA31 M52

Elsevier's dictionary of architecture in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German, and Dutch. New York: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1988
Avery Reference AA31 EL758

Langenscheidt Routledge Fachwörterbuch Architektur und Bauwesen : Deutsch-English = Langenscheidt Routledge Dictionary of architecture, building and civil engineering : German-English
Avery Reference AA31 G2833

Multilingual dictionary of architecture and building terms.(English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) New York: E & FN Spon, 1998
Avery Reference AA31 M919


Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Citations to articles in worldwide architecture and related periodicals with primary emphasis on architectural design and history but coverage as well of archaeology, landscape architecture, interior design, furniture and decorative arts, garden history, historic preservation, city planning, urban design, real estate development and environmental studies.

Art Full Text / Art Retrospective

Citations, some abstracts, and some full text of articles in international art periodicals. Areas covered include architecture and interior design. Art Retrospective covers 1929-1984. Art Full Text covers 1984 to the present. (This link will automatically take you to Art Full Text, to search Art Retrospective only, or in combination with Art Full Text, select the "Open Database Selection Area" at the top left hand corner once you are connected to Art Full Text)

Bibliography of the History of Art

Citations and abstracts for articles on Western, European and American, art history periodicals and other publications. Coverage from 1973 to the present and includes architecture and decorative arts.


Full-text articles from more than 600 scholarly journals. Architecture coverage includes the journals Architectural History, Assemblage, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians and October among others.

RIBA Library Online Catalogue

Catalogue of books, journal articles and other material in the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects. Covers architecture, city planning, and urban history. Strong focus on Great Britain, Europe and the British Commonwealth (India, New Zealand, Australia and Canada).

ULI Development Case Studies

Access to more than 300 detailed case studies of completed projects ranging from low-income housing to mixed-use downtown developments to commercial and industrial projects. The case studies provide photographs and site plans, information on costs and rents, innovative features and strategies of the project, and an explanation of the entire development process. It covers projects from 1985 to the present. Thirty new case studies are added very year.

Architecture E-Journals

Image Databases and Websites


Searchable database of more than 1,000,000 digital images and associated catalog data. ARTstor covers many time periods and cultures. It documents the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design, as well as many other forms of visual culture. As of Fall 2009 it also includes images from the Columbia Image Bank: History of Art and Architecture.

Cities and Buildings Database

Collection of digitized images of buildings and cities drawn from across time and throughout the world. Produced by the University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections.

Great Buildings Collection

This gateway to architecture around the world and across history documents a thousand buildings and hundreds of leading architects, with 3D models, photographic images and architectural drawings, commentaries, bibliographies, web links, and more, for famous designers and structures of all kinds.

Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) and Historic American Landscape Survey (HAL)

Digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs, color transparencies, photo captions, data pages including written histories, and supplemental materials on architecture, engineering, and design.

Pidgeon Digital

Audiovisual collection of illustrated talks by architects and related designers.


Images from the collections of the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects, the world's most extensive visual archive devoted to architecture. It covers world architecture of all periods together with related subjects such as interior design, landscape, topography, planning, construction and the decorative arts.

Compiled by Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University Libraries.  Last updated September 2009.