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Research Guides

Architecture: Collection Guidelines:Architecture: Scope

Subject Guide for Architecture and Architectural History Students.


a. Chronological

The Built Environments (BE) Library collects books, journals, and media in all periods of architectural history, from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on  Modern architecture. The library supports curricular emphases of the Department of Architecture, that  focus on contemporary building trends. That being said, inspiration for architects can come from sources analyzing a range of historical periods.  

For the media collection, the BE Library also collects materials related to architecture, civil engineering and architectural history from antiquity to the present.  (The Media Center in Suzzallo Library collects films that pertain to architecture, as well.) One area of special interest is studies of furniture design, particularly pertaining to Scandinavian design history. This supports the furniture design studio and exchange programs with Danish universities.

b. Geographical

The BE Library has a 60,000-volume collection that seeks to include the broadest range of cultures possible. It has outstanding collections pertaining to Japanese architecture, as well as solid collections focused on American Modern architecture, particularly building histories of the Pacific Coast and Pacific Northwest regions. Japanese architecture, particularly, has exerted powerful influence on designers of the West Coast.

c. Language

Primary emphasis is on works in English, secondary emphases are other European languages. The BE Library has an excellent array of Japanese-language periodicals, supplementing and enhancing collections in the East Asia Library.    

d. Format

The collection includes printed books and periodicals and digital and analog media.

The print collection includes monographs on architects and building periods, urban planning documents, construction manuals, engineering resources and landscape and horticultural texts.  The BE Library has a small collection of microform architectural materials, but the vast majority of these items are housed in the Microform/Newspaper Unit ("MicNews") of Suzzallo Library.

The media collection includes CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes.  The BE Library has access to periodicals in both print and electronic form. Print journals are located in both the Unbound Periodicals area for the newest items, and the Periodicals Stacks for back issues. Electronic periodicals are accessed via the UW Libraries Catalog.  For a list of electronic journals use this link.

e. Exclusions

The BE Library does not collect image reproductions, slides, or software manuals. We have a very limited collection of building plans in paper form, and some plan materials on Gould Hall. Although we do collect monographs and periodicals to support the classes in furniture design, the BE Library does not have a materials or product samples library.