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Syracuse University Libraries

Architecture: Architectural History

This guide presents resources on various aspects of architecture including history, theory, design and technology.

Research Tips

Finding Information on a Specific Building:

  • The manner in which a building may appear in a particular resource can vary from the information you have been given.  Consider, for example, alternate building names.  
  • In some instances, there may be a book devoted to the study of the specific building.  Check SUMMIT by keyword.  
  • Remember, however, that only a small percentage of buildings have been studied in such detail.  By searching only for books on the specific building, yo may be eliminating important studies on the architect.
  • Identify the name of the architect.  Search SUMMIT and the appropriate indexes by name of the architect to locate your materials. 
  • Anonymous or vernacular buildings can only be searched by location, time period, or style as appropriate.
  • When searching by location of building or work, remember that in many instances the entry will be filed under location first (normally country, then city).
  • Check more general sources like architectural histories or books on a time period, style, building type, or location to collect information about the specific work.  
  • Follow the same strategy in the periodical indexes, beginning with a keyword search on the building or combination of architect and specific work.
  • Narrow or broaden your search as necessary.
  • Check specialized resources, such as Historic American Building Survey or National Register of historic Places as appropriate.  

Finding Information on a Specific Topic:

  • Begin your search by subject or keyword. Keyword Anywhere is a very broad-based search, which looks for words located anywhere in the record.  The limited Subject Heading search returns a browsable list of items with the exact Library of Congress subject heading.  It is a more refined search and will return a more limited number of entries than the keyword search.
  • Check related subject headings and topics to obtain additional information

Significant Historians

Giedion, Sigfried.

Space, Time, and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977. 1941. (ARR - NA203 G45 1982)

Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History. New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 1948. (ARR – T19 G64) (available online via ACLS Humanities E-Book)

Kostof, Spiro

Lectures: UC Berkeley's College for Environmental Design, Spring 1991.  "A Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism" covers the period from the Florentine Renaissance to the post-modernism of the late 20th century.

America by Design. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. (ARR - NA705 .K64 1987)

The Architect: Chapters in the History of the Profession. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977. (ARR - NA1995 .A7)

The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. New York: Bullfinch Press, 2004. 1991. (ARR - HT111 .K63 2004)

A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. (ARR reserve - NA200 .K65 1995)

Society of Architectural Historians

The Society of Architectural Historians was founded in 1940 to advance knowledge and understanding of the history of architecture, design, landscape, and urbanism worldwide. The Society serves scholars, professionals in allied fields (including architecture, historic preservation and planning), and the interested general public.  Website includes newsletter, links, and other resources.

Other Books on Historians:

Podro, Michael. The Critical Historians of Art. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982. 

General Art and Architectural History Books

Arnold, Dana. Reading Architectural History. New York: Routledge, 2002. (ARR - NA190 A76 2002)

Ching, Francis D.K., Mark M. Jarzombek, and Vikramaditya Prakash. A Global History of Architecture. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. (ARR reserve - NA200 C493 2007)

Cruickshank, Dan, ed. Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture. 20th ed. Boston: Architectural Press, 1996. (ARR reserve - NA200 F63 1996)

Fazio, Michael, Marian Moffett, and Lawrence Wodehouse. Buildings Across Time: An Introduction to World Architecture. 3rd Edition. (ARR reserve - NA200 M575 2009)

Frankl, Paul. Principles of Architectural History: The Four Phases of Architectural Style, 1420-1900. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1968. (ARR - NA203 F713 0

Giedion, Sigfried. Space, Time, and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977. 1941. (ARR - NA203 G45 1982)

Kostof, Spiro. A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. (ARR reserve - NA200 K65 1995)

Millon, Henry A., ed. Key Monuments of the History of Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams. (ARR - NA202 M5 c.10)

Roth, Leland M. Understanding Architecture: Its Elements, History, and Meaning. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2007. (ARR - NA2500 R68 2007)

Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: From Prehistory to Postmodernity. 2nd ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002. 1986. (ARR reserve - NA200 T7 2002)

History Books by Location


Kubler, George. The Art and Architecture of Ancient America: the Mexican, Maya, and Andean Peoples. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1975. (Bird 4th Floor, Fine Arts Reference – E59 A7 K8 1975)


Rowland, Benjamin. The Art and Architecture of India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1959. (ARR – N7301 R68 1959)


Gerson, Horst and E.H. ter Kuile. Art and Architecture in Belgium, 1600-1800. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960. (ARR – N6966 G43)

Hempel, Eberhard. Baroque Art and Architecture in Central Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1965. (ARR – N6756 H413)

Kubler, George and Martin Soria. Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and their American Dominions, 1500-1800. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1959. (ARR – N7104 K8)

Rosenberg, Jakob, Seymour Slive, and E.H. ter Kuile. Dutch Art and Architecture, 1600-1800. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1966. (Bird 4th Floor, Fine Arts Reference – ND636 R6 1966)

Sandars, Nancy K. Prehistoric Art in Europe. London: Penguin, 1968. (Bird 4th Floor – N5310 S32)

Summerson, John. Architecture in Britain, 1530-1830. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1963. 1953. (Bird 4th Floor – NA964 S85 1963)

Watkin, David. A History of Western Architecture. 4th ed. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005. (ARR - NA200 W412 2005)

White, John. Art and Architecture in Italy, 1250-1400. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1966. (ARR – N6913 W48)

Yarwood, Doreen. A Chronology of Western Architecture. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1987. (ARR - NA200 Y37 2010)


History Books by Time Period

Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. 4th Ed.  New York: Thames & Hudson, 2007. (ARR reserve - NA500 F75 2007)

Architectural Dictionaries

Ching, Francis D.K. A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995. (ARR reserve - NA31 C44 1995)

Curl, James Stevens. Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. (ARR - NA31 C864 2006)

Fleming, John, Hugh Honour and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1972. (ARR - NA31 F55 1972)

Harris, Cyril M. Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture. New York: McGraw Hill, 1977. (ARR - NA31 H56 1983)

Sturgis, Russell. A Dictionary of Architecture and Building: Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive. New York: Macmillan Company, 1902. (ARR - NA31 S84 v.1-3)

Research Databases

Database: Art Full Text 

Vendor: H.W. Wilson 

Description: Abstracts for journal articles in 400 key international, English-language arts publications, includes periodicals, yearbooks, museum bulletins, competition and award notices, exhibition listings, interviews, and film reviews.


Database: America History and Life 

Vendor: EBSCOhost

Description: America: History and Life is the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present, this database is without question the most important bibliographic reference tool for students and scholars of U.S. and Canadian history. The database also includes citations and links to book and media reviews. Strong English-language journal coverage is balanced by an international perspective on topics and events, including abstracts in English of articles published in more than 40 languages.


DatabaseAvery Index to Architectural Periodicals 

Vendor: EBSCOhost

Description: The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals indexes more than 2,000 periodicals published worldwide on archaeology, city planning, interior design, and historic preservation, as well as architecture. Coverage is from the 1930s (with selective coverage dating back to the 1860s) to the present. The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals is updated daily.


Database: Bibliography of the History of Art

Vendor: Getty

Description: Indexes and abstracts art-related books, conference proceedings, dissertations, exhibition and dealer's catalogs, and articles from more than 2,500 periodicals. Covering European and American art from late antiquity to the present. Updated quarterly.


Database: British Periodicals 

Vendor: Chadwyck-Healey

Description: British Periodicals provides access to the searchable full text of hundreds of periodicals from the late seventeenth century to the early twentieth, comprising millions of high-resolution facsimile page images.


Database: Historical Abstracts

Vendor: ABC-CLIO

Description: Historical coverage of the world from 1450 to the present.


Database: History E-Book Project 

Vendor: American Council of Learned Societies

Description: Full-text of books in all areas of history.


Database: Index to 19th-century American Art Periodicals 

Vendor: OCLC FirstSearch

Description: Indexes 42 art journals published in the U.S. during the 19th century, (1840-1907) providing nearly complete coverage of journals from this period. The index describes the entire journal contents: articles, art notes, illustrations, stories, poems, and advertisements; and offers information on popular culture and industry, artists and illustrators, painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, architecture and design, exhibitions and sales, decorations, and collecting.


Database: International Medieval Bibliography 

Vendor: Brepolis

Description: Index to journal articles and miscellany volumes (conference proceedings, essay collections, Festschriften) comprising 300,000 articles. Updated quarterly the IMB-Online covers publications from 1967-present with enhanced search capabilities (by periods, places, persons, and texts).


Database: JSTOR 

Vendor: JSTOR

Description: Full-text archive of scholarly publications in mathematics, science, the arts and humanities, and the social sciences.