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Environmental Design Library @ UC Berkeley

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American Architecture Guide

American Architecture is a brief, selective bibliographic research guide to general resources on the architecture of the United States in the UC Berkeley libraries and on the web. For additional assistance, please consult the Environmental Design Library reference staff, 210 Wurster Hall.

UC Berkeley faculty, registered students, and staff who are off campus may use items marked UCB Only or UC Only by using the Library's proxy service or the Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Compiled by Elizabeth Douthitt Byrne. Content reviewed: February 2009

Research Guides

A selection of related web and research guides that may be helpful in your research. For general research advice on architectural history see History of Architecture Methodology, or California specific assistance in San Francisco Bay Area Architecture Research Guides.


Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Use these sources to define terms and get an overview. tip For additional resources search Library catalogs under Subject Keywords: Architecture--United States--Dictionaries, or Architecture--United States--Encyclopedias.



A selective list of compilations of the best works on the subject. Use them to get a jump-start on your research. tip For additional resources search Library catalogs under: Subject: Architecture--United States--Bibliography; or Architecture--Bibliography.


Finding books

A few, selected examples of subject search terms to use in the Library catalogs. There are many, many more. Terms can all be modified by place names, e.g., Architecture California San Francisco Bay Area. You may also search the catalogs by the name of an architect or designer, either as an author or as subject. These terms may also be useful in periodical indexes.

Architecture, American
Architecture and Society--United States
Architecture, Colonial--United States
Architecture, Domestic--United States
Architecture, Postmodern--United States
Architecture--United States
Architecture, Victorian--United States
Buildings--United States
Dwellings--United States
Eclecticism in Architecture--United States
Gothic Revival Architecture--United States
Greek Revival Architecture--United States
Historic Buildings--United States
Historic Sites--United States
Ranch Houses--United States
Vernacular Architecture--United States
[material of building]--United States, e.g., Stone building
[name of building], e.g., Mount Vernon
[name of place]--Buildings, structures
[period of building] e.g., Architecture--United States--19th century
[style of building]--United States, e.g. Greek revival
[type of building]--United States, e.g., Church Architecture


Finding journal articles

A selection of journal (periodical) indexes to find articles on your topic. For additional indexes see Architecture Indexes and Abstracts (UC Berkeley, Library). and Article Databases (UC Berkeley, Library). Click on UC-eLinks button to locate the articles.



For additional sources, check Guide to Library catalogs under Subject Keyword: [name of subject]--pictorial, e.g., Subject Keywords: School buildings pictorial, or Mount Vernon pictorial.



A selection of guides. For additional titles, check Library catalogs under: Subject Keywords: Architecture--[name of state--name of city]--Guidebooks, or Architecture--Details, or Architecture--{place]--Handbooks.


Selected surveys & General histories

A representative sampling.


Styles & periods

Selected, representative guides and surveys that focus on specific American styles or periods.


Specific styles & periods



See also related organizations listed in our guides, American Cultural Landscapes, History of Architecture, and Vernacular Architecture. tip Check the links in each of these sites for additional associations and organizations.



Some of the more important Bay Area collections of original source material (drawings, photographs, correspondence, etc.) on American architects and architecture. See also Archives sections in other guides, History of Architecture, and Historic Preservation.

Guide to Using Archives

Directories of Archives

Important Local Archives

See also Archives sections in other guides, History of Architecture and Historic Preservation.