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Research architects   Tags: architects, architecture  

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2016 URL: Print Guide

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Researching architects

The Kappe Library Guides identify general resources on broad topics to help researchers begin their work. Individual projects and practitioners are avoided; guides, indexes and general introductions are preferred to specialized works.

 Book citations that include a call number can be found at the Kappe Library; other books are identified by author, title and date. Magazine articles are selected from the Avery Index database; to identify which are available at the Kappe Library, see here


If you have the name of an architect that you want to research, use the encyclopedias and other general references to find basic information: What did this person do? When? What documents are there?

Britannica online

The Facts on File Dictionary of Design and Designers, NK1165.J47 1984

Curl. Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 2nd ed., Reference-NA31.C864 2006


DON’T FORGET TO SEARCH THE AVERY DATABASE  -  to locate magazine articles by or about your person.

The Avery covers architecture magazines in all languages, from mid-19th century to last year.


A.I.A. Los Angeles member list - 2012

ArchInform index of persons

Architect Finder (A.I.A. site)

California Architects Board licensee info database



Amsoneit, Contemporary European Architects, NA958 .A48 1991

Contemporary Architects, NA680 .C625 1994

Frampton, Modern Architecture: a critical history, Reference-NA500.F75 2007

Hasan-Uddin, Contemporary Asian Architects, NA1460 .K48 1995

Ibelings, Contemporary Architects of the Low Countries, NA1148.I2 2000

Jodidio, Contemporary American Architects, NA701.J64 1993

Lacy, 100 Contemporary Architects: drawings and sketches, NA2700 .L26 1991

The MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects, NA40.M25 1982 1-4

Society of Architecture Historians Archipedia – searchable database



Banister-Fletcher’s A History of Architecture, 20th ed., Reference-NA200.F63 1998

Colvin, A Biographical dictionary of British architects, 1600-1840, NA996 .C6 1995

Fazio, A World History of Architecture, NA200 .M575 2008

Kostoff, A History of Architecture, 2nd ed., NA200.K65 1995

Oxford Art Online (also see the print Dictionary of ArtReference-N31.D5 1996, volume 34 is the index)

Richards, Who's Who In Architecture Since 1400, NA40.W48

Trachtenberg, Architecture from Prehistory to Postmodernism, NA200.T7 2002

Union List of Artist Names, (Clarifies names)

Whitney, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects Deceased, Reference-NA40.W77 (Covers 1740-1952)


Special situations


For under-documented structures explore city government departments connected with building permits, planning, engineering and safety. Often they have copies of construction documents on file and other records that reveal a structure’s history. You’ll need to know the street name and number, and perhaps the assessor’s parcel number.

Los Angeles Building & Safety Records

Santa Monica Building & Safety



When using indexes and catalogs and internet guides you have to be careful about the name you look up. A search under “Rotondi, Michael” will generate different results than "RoTo Architects.” They will be similar, of course, but it would be a mistake to assume the differences are unimportant. This is especially exasperating “Frank O. Gehry Architects” is completely different from “Gehry, Frank” Similarly “Richard Meier & Partners” and “Meier, Richard” Choose your keywords carefully

Suggest resources for this page

Get oriented

It 's OK to begin research with only a vague idea of what you are looking for! Use encyclopedias, dictionaries and standard reference works to clarify terms, and get a quick overview of the important issues of your topic.

  • Oxford Reference Online
    The ideal place to start research: one-stop searching of hundreds of specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias in history, humanities and the sciences

Locate articles

Print magazines are still the best source for the images of contemporary architecture--especially for finding line art, plans, sections, and details. The Kappe Library maintains 100 print subscriptions; selected current issues are in the browsing area display rack. Other titles are available on request from staff. A collection of over 3000 volumes of back issues is arranged in the stacks in alpha order by title. See Periodicals In The Collection for a complete inventory of the print magazine volumes.

Locate books

Whatever library catalog you're using, always check the Holdings status of a book you are interested in. At the Kappe Library, books may be available, checked out, or held on reserve. If a book is checked out you can reserve it. Use your SCI-Arc i.d. number as username and also PIN. You will be notified by e-mail when the book is available.

  • The Kappe Library catalog
    Complete guide to the print-book collection, plus links to e-book collections
  • Los Angeles Public Library system
    One of the largest municipal library systems in the world. Have books from any of 72 branch libraries delivered to the one nearest you.
  • WorldCat
    WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. Search many libraries at once for an item and then locate it in a library nearby. Please note: SCI-Arc doesn't provide interlibrary loan services.

Access e-articles

The following databases provide instant access to over 100 years' worth of articles from a wide variety of academic and popular magazines. SCI-Arc access to these databases is restricted to on-campus computers accessing the internet via SCI-Arc's IP address.

  • ArtSource (via Ebsco)
    A digital archive of magazine articles in the visual arts, architecture and many specialized crafts and trades. PDF articles have illustrations, HTML articles are text-only.
  • JStor
    A digital archive of almost two million articles from over 700 scholarly journals. About 4000 institutions and 500 publishers participate
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic
    The most comprehensive source for full-text international newspaper and magazine articles

Access e-books

To activate full functionality, these e-book databases typically require each user to create an individual user account--only a valid e-mail address is required. SCI-Arc access to these databases is restricted to on-campus computers accessing the internet via SCI-Arc's IP address.

  • Ebrary
    An online service providing access to over 60,000 e-books from over 425 publishers, including MIT and Princeton Architectural Press. You can also access these e-books through this catalog.
  • SpringerLink e-books
    A web shelf of e-books from the publisher Springer. Only items marked with a green rectangle are accessible
  • Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Authoritative articles on essential topics and thinkers, presented clearly and concisely

Access e-images

SCI-Arc access to these databases is restricted to on-campus computers accessing the internet via SCI-Arc's IP address.

  • ArtStor image database
    A digital library of images of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences. It also provides software to view and present these images for research and teaching within copyright restrictions
  • ArchiVision Digital Research Library
    Over 60,000 images of architecture, archaeological sites, gardens, parks and works of art.
  • Oxford Art Online
    Continuously-updated authoritative information on world visual arts based on the 34-volume Grove Dictionary of Art
  • Art Museum Image Gallery (via Ebsco)
    An image database of art and related multimedia gathered from the collections of distinguished museums around the world, including the Louvre, the British Museum, the Hermitage, the National Anthropological Museum of Mexico, and the Library of Congress
  • Associated Press images
    Up to the minute & essential historical photographs for download
  • Catalog of Art Museum Images Online
    An image database of works of fine and decorative art from leading museums around the world (including LACMA) from 3000 BCE to the present.

Access video

Map it

SCI-Arc access to this database is restricted to on-campus computers accessing the internet via SCI-Arc's IP address.

  • Simply Map
    An online tool to help create thematic maps based on vast demographic, business and marketing data

Research materials

SCI-Arc access to this database is restricted to on-campus computers accessing the internet via SCI-Arc's IP address.

  • Material ConneXion
    A searchable database of information about new materials selected from a wide range of industries

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