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Architecture: Architectural Working Drawings

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

NOTE

We are currently in the process of updating and reorganizing our working drawings.  The documents on this page record the current locations of all of our drawings; please understand that the online Library Catalog may not yet reflect these changes

Thank you for your understanding.

NEW - List of Print Resources to Supplement Working Drawings

History of the Working Drawings Collection

The architectural working drawings collection, housed in the Architecture  Reading Room, was started over twenty years ago in direct support of the Advanced Building Systems class. As early as 1978, the term project for ARC 423 centered around comparisons between two buildings of the same type. Students were given a list of works from which to choose. Initially, students did their research using library resources like books and periodical articles on the architect and/or specific building. As the course evolved, this type of research alone proved to be inadequate.

Students began making site visits, trying to obtain access to the working drawings for study and review. A proposal was made to the Library to begin buying this type of material. The analogy was made that the architectural working drawing is to the architect as the score is to the musician. At the time that the Syracuse University Library agreed to this type of purchase request, a number of schools of architecture were drawing upon this type of material for study purposes as well. The major difference was that Syracuse University was actively working to develop a core collection of drawings of important contemporary works as opposed to faculty merely bringing in sets of drawings of projects in which they were involved as was happening in many other schools. Other schools, as well, often drew upon donations of drawings of local projects.

 

Collection Overview

Type of collection: Architectural records are tools which document a building from the conceptual to the built work. The collection being described here is one of construction documents, not design documents. These construction documents are commonly known as working drawings and are an important source of information on how  the specific building performs, documenting the relationship between its design, technology or working systems (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning; electrical design or structural components). Some specifications have been collected.  

History: The architectural working drawings collection, housed in the Architecture Reading Room was started over 30 years ago in direct support of the Advanced Building Systems class. As early as 1978, the term project for ARC 423 centered on comparisons between buildings of the same type. Initially, students did their research using library resources like books and periodical articles on the architect and/or specific building.

Students began making site visits, trying to obtain access to the working drawings for study and review. A proposal was made to the Libraries to begin buying this type of material. The analogy was made that the architectural working drawing is to the architect as the score is to the musician. At the time that the Syracuse University Library agreed to this type of purchase request, a number of schools of architecture were drawing upon this type of material for study purposes as well. The major difference was that Syracuse University was actively working to develop a core collection of drawings of important contemporary works as opposed to faculty bringing in sets of drawings of projects in which they were involved as was happening in many other schools. Other schools, as well, often drew upon donations of drawings of local projects.

Scope of Collection:  There are currently over 300 cataloged sets of working drawings, from 2 pages to over 500 sheets. Microfilm holdings are, for the most part, limited to materials acquired from the Louis I. Kahn Collection at the Architectural Archive of the University of Pennsylvania. A limited number of working drawings exist in digital format. Most of the drawing sets represent built works in the United States. The majority of the drawing sets are of cultural and educational buildings, with museums and college and university buildings predominating. Because of their pedagogical use, every effort has been made to acquire as complete a set of drawings as possible. Emphasis is placed upon the acquisition of architectural and heating, ventilating and air conditioning drawings.

Acquisition: The Syracuse University Libraries are responsible for acquiring additional working drawing sets for the collection. Requests for materials are submitted by members of the School of Architecture faculty to the architecture librarian.

Access: Holdings of the working drawings collection can be accessed through the classic catalog of SUMMON. Access enables people to search the catalog for specific projects, detailed holdings and availability. Record lists the architect or architectural firm as the primary access point; with the name of the building or project serving as the title. Subject tracings and keyword searching provide the library user with the building types in the catalog. To retrieve a complete list of working drawing sets, patrons may make use of the heading search, select title and type in "working drawings." This list of drawings is arranged alphabetically by building name.

Location: All architectural working drawing sets are currently housed in the Architecture Reading Room, 302 Slocum Hall.  Access is available during all regular reading room hours.

Storage: The prints of the architectural working drawings in this collection are housed in one of two ways. Most drawing sets are stored in flat files in consecutive number order. These sets are labeled with the description: drawings, flat and a four digit number. When processed, the specific drawing set is arranged in order following the construction document schedule or a logical pattern.

Physical description: The working drawings in this collection are "prints" or copies, made using various photo-reproductive processes. The average size is 24" x 36", but a number of "half-size" sets exist. Approximately three-quarters of the drawings are blue or black line diazo prints on an off-white or dirty background. There are several sets of Mylar and vellum drawings as well as some blueprints.    

Circulation: Working drawing sets DO NOT CIRCULATE. An account has been set up with Syracuse Blueprint in order to quickly (usually within a couple of days) provide students with copies and/or scans of the drawings, at a given cost per sheet that the student must pay upon receipt of the material. Copy/scan order forms can be obtained from the staff at the Architecture Reading Room.

Handling: The size and bulk of the drawings and frequency of use creates significant refiling problems. PLEASE make an honest effort when using the working drawings to keep them in order and refile them neatly.

SUMMIT Look-up

Architectural working drawings are listed on SUMMIT.  To retrieve a complete list of architectural working drawing sets, use the heading search, select title and type the phrase working drawings.  This will retrieve a list of working drawings arranged alphabetically by building name.

The SUMMIT record lists the architect or architectural firm as the author and the name of the building as the title.  Subject headings include building types.  Drawings, flat or Drawings, rolled followed by a number gives the call number of the drawing set.  SUMMIT records include the number and types of drawings.

 


Example 1: Retrieving a list of working drawings in title order.

 


Example 2: Retrieving a list of working drawings by architect or building name.

 
  



Example 3: Advanced search: combining author and title.