Standards > Architectural
"While there is no uniform definition of "architectural
records" in general it includes architectural drawings,
and anything related to architectural design including published
works, specifications, photographs, postcards, correspondence
with clients, etc. The underlying concept being that no building
exists in a vacuum, it is part of a larger built environment
and the architectural records provide some of the background
for better understanding the building and its surroundings,
and the architect."
Wrenn, Tony P. "Publications on Architectural Records,"
Issue, CRM Vol.17, No.9, 1994.
"Architectural records are significant as documents of
an artistic process. Indeed, many architectural drawings have
great intrinsic beauty and are works of art in their own right.
They are also important as records of a society, as tools for
the maintenance and renovation of existing buildings, as historical
records of buildings that no longer exist, as documentation
of unbuilt designs, and as legal evidence. Architecture distinguishes
itself from other art forms in that it is a product of society
as a whole rather than the vision of a single artist.
Ingrid E. Bogel, Executive Director and Debra Hess Norris,
Chair of the Board of Directors, Conservation Center for Art
and Historic Artifacts. From Conference
Records Conference Report, held at Conservation
Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia, PA,
May 3 through 5, 2000.
for the Recording of Monuments, Groups of Buildings and
Sites, ICOMOS, Sophia, Bulgaria, 1996
Schrock, Nancy Carlson, and Mary Campbell Cooper, Records
in Architectural Offices: Suggestions for the Organization,
Storage, and Conservation of Architectural Office Archives,
Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Committee for the Preservation
of Architectural Records, Cambridge, MA, June 1992,.
AIA Library & Archives,
The American Institute of Architects.
A collection of over 40,000 volumes, 3,000 rare books and serials,
and 200 periodical titles. The Library holds complete runs of
the American Architect and Building News, as well as
Sweets Catalogs from 1953 to present. Library: (202)
626-7490 / 7489; Archives: (202) 626-7496.
Guide to the Description of Architectural Drawings, A product
of a collaboration between the Getty Art History Information
Program (AHIP) the Architectural Drawing Advisory Group (an
international consortium), and the Foundation for Documents
of Architecture (a nonprofit corporation).
Built in America,
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American
Engineering Record (HAER), Prints
and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. The
collections document achievements in architecture, engineering,
and design in the United States and its territories through
a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies.
This online presentation of the HABS/HAER collections includes
digitized images of measured drawings, black-and-white photographs,
color transparencies, photo captions, data pages including written
histories, and supplemental materials.
Records Conference Report, conference held at Conservation
Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, Philadelphia, PA,
May 3 through 5, 2000. The following papers are particularly
Lowell, Waverly, Director, Environmental Design Archives,
University of California, Berkeley. Establishing
Intellectual Control and Access to Architectural Records.
"In order to provide intellectual control to collections
of architectural records, it is essential to understand
the nature of records creation. This includes developing
a familiarity with design development and project construction;
with the players - architects, clients, contractors; and
with the types of documents created by the architectural
process. This knowledge guides the development of standards
and systems for organizing collections and creating a link
between the physical records and access to them.
This lecture will provide an overview of the
architectural process and the records it generates, as well
as review basic principles for arrangement and description
that combine archival standards with a knowledge of architectural
records and their consistency."
Lowell, Waverly, Director, Environmental Design Archives,
University of California, Berkeley. A
Standard Approach to Arrangement and Description of Architectural
"In many institutions, each collection has been processed
as if it were a unique entity. Or collections are described
with biographical or historical notes and folder lists,
without including a description of the hierarchical arrangement
of the records. Or depending on the contents of a collection,
series may have names that vary only slightly or are arranged
differently. This subjective arrangement and description
is hard on the staff, hard on the researchers, and hard
to input electronically. People and computers both like
This presentation will describe different
levels of description available for architectural records
and demonstrate a standard method developed for use at different
Shepherd, Kelcy, Archivist, Environmental Design Archives,
University of California, Berkeley. Electronic
Access to Architectural Collections.
"A variety of existing and developing standards for
electronic description will be introduced, but the presentation
will focus on MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) and EAD
(Encoded Archival Description), standards used by libraries
and archives. These two methods of description provide a
framework to explore issues relating to the evaluation of
electronic descriptive practices..
Examples of electronic
access projects and databases from a variety of cultural
heritage institutions will be used to illustrate the discussion."
Cohen, Jeffrey A., Lecturer, Growth and Structure of Cities
Program, and Director, Digital Media and Visual Resource Center,
Bryn Mawr College. Makers'
Motives and Users' Pathways in the Documentation of Place.
"Architectural records, taken broadly, embrace a great
range of documents of place, from the architect's drawings
to deed records, old photographs, directories, insurance
policies, descriptive recollections, and financial records.
The creation of such documentation of place reflects a wide
range of motives, often quite distinct from the motives
of contemporary users who wish to consult them.
A key challenge for modern repositories is
to span and connect these motives. These motives are sometimes
skewed, but often intersecting. This paper will explore
both sets of motives and some of the ways they intersect,
looking at the example of Philadelphia-area documentary
resources and some bridging tools currently being explored."
Nelb, Tawny Ryan, Archivist and Records Consultant, Nelb
Archival Consulting. Preservation
Management and Planning for Architectural Records.
"Preservation is in the very nature of why we gather
together architectural records for legal, administrative,
evidential, fiscal, or historical purposes. No less important
than how materials are evaluated and described intellectually,
is how these often oversized documents are housed, brought
to the user for research, and stored securely in the proper
environment for their long-term survival. The elements of
preservation management include identification of problem
areas in the repository such as lax security, temperature
and humidity fluctuations, potential water entry points,
researcher behavior that might damage collections (such
as tracing), lack of a disaster plan, and problems in individual
record collections like unsafe housing or the poor condition
of specific documents. Preservation management goes a long
way to eliminating or at least mitigating potential problems
and allows for a consistent and budgeted approach to "best
practice" standards instead of simply reacting to preservation
Irving, Joan, Conservator, Conservation Center for Art and
Historic Artifacts (CCAHA). Housing
Recommendations for Architectural Records: The Sacred and
"This presentation is a corollary to Lois Olcott Price's
talk, focusing on housing and storage recommendations for
architectural drawing papers and image-making materials
to 1950. Making practical storage recommendations for these
drawings is daunting, considering the wide variety of materials,
the sheer size of some drawings, and the volume of works
in larger collections. Traditional conservation prescriptions
for single, precious items, or the "sacred," are
sometimes useful and appropriate. More often than not, they
ignore the pressing storage problems of most collection
materials - the too big, too numerous, or too deteriorated
- i.e., the "profane". This talk will offer storage,
housing, and handling ideas for both the sacred and the
Aeck, Tony, AIA, Principal, Lord, Aeck & Sargent. Current
and Emerging Documentation and Archiving Methods in Architectural
"Advancing technologies make a greater breadth of
information easily accessible, and a more efficient design
process is emerging, resulting in more effective communication
of design intent..
More capital is required to invest
in systems and to train and maintain a proficient workforce,
as well as to preserve the data generated. Archiving technology
faces a major challenge to keep pace, making the storage
of raster images a popular but increasingly inadequate solution
for many types of architectural records."
Mattix, Carla, Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor,
Department of the Interior. Legal
Issues for Architectural Record.
"This presentation provides an outline of the copyright,
privacy, publicity, and public record laws that govern the
creation and use of such records. Obtaining proper permissions
and releases for personal information or use of existing
records will also be addressed."
Horst, Bradley. Director of Information Technology, Shepley
Bulfinch Richardson and Abbot. Guidelines
for Managing and Preserving Electronic Files in an Architectural
Recent growth in the use of Internet, Project Extranet
and Facilities Management environments has increased the
importance of architects' ability to collect, organize,
synthesize and communicate information effectively throughout
the life cycle of a project.
To make things more complicated,
hardware and software compatibility is still relatively
immature in that it prevents transparent information integration
Simply put, an architect must be able
to locate critical content within the vast pool of information
so that it can be retrieved and applied at the proper place
and time. File systems, naming conventions, network architecture,
and equally important discipline, are among
the many tools at your disposal when your firm sets out
to organize its internal, electronic corporate data."
Kozbial, Ardys, Manager, Property Information Resource Center,
Harvard Planning and Real Estate, Harvard University. Guidelines
for Documentation of Construction Projects.
"The PIRC [Property
Information Resource Center] has made an attempt to
gather useful, legal documentation at the end of capital
projects by creating standards and guidelines that architects
and their sub-contractors follow when working on these projects
at Harvard. However, at this point in time, more questions
than answers surface when discussing documentation of construction
Society of American Archivists
(SAA) Architectural Records Roundtable, Nicholas Olsberg, Conference
Chair, Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1920 rue Baile, Montreal,
Quebec, Canada H3H 2S6. Proceedings
and conference statement now being prepared for publication,
possibly as an issue of the American Archivist.
Categories for the description of architectural drawings,
including: subject/built works, people/corporate bodies, geographic
locations, and bibliographic sources. The National Archives
of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Architecture were involved
in the production of this guide. The Guide, as such, is not
definitive, but is meant to be a step toward cataloguing standards.
Although principally concerned with architectural drawings,
many of these guidelines may be applied toand at times
specifically addressrelated materials, including models,
prints, and photographs.
Porter, Vicki, and Robin Thornes. A Guide to the Description
of Architectural Drawings, Boston, Massachusetts: G. K. Hall,
1994. Publication of the Architectural Drawings Advisory Group,
Foundation for Documents in Architecture, on behalf of the Getty
Art History Information Program.
Schrock, Nancy Carlson, and Mary Campbell Cooper, Records in
Architectural Offices: Suggestions for the Organization, Storage,
and Conservation of Architectural Office Archives, Cambridge,
MA: Massachusetts Committee for the Preservation of Architectural
Records, P. O. Box 129, Cambridge, MA 02142, June 1992, $12.00,
plus $3.00 for mailing. Toward standards for architectural archives,
proceedings of a two-day conference made possible by a grant
from the National Endowment for the Humanities, February l984,
Washington, DC: American
Architectural Foundation, out-of-print.
This short book (44 pages) is organized into five major sections.
The first section, "Current Practice," covers the
types of records, organization of project information, records
retention, storage, firms of different sizes, and examples
of records systems in use. The section on "Organizing
Office Records" discusses the general principles of records
management, the value of records management, implementation
of a records program, organizing drawings, vital records,
and organization of the archives. "Preserving Office
Records" covers the various types of materials created
in architects offices, such as written documents, drawings,
computer records, photographs, microforms, and then covers
reformatting for preservation, environment and storage, and
a summary of recommendations. [Review
by Tawny Ryan Nelb.]
Co-operative Preservation of Architectural Records (COPAR)
Publications. COPAR is a national effort made up of regional
committees, formed to create a venue to share holdings as well
as expertise in managing such records.
A Newsletter for COPAR, a national clearing house of information
on architectural records and architectural records repositories,
published quarterly by the Library of Congress and The Metropolitan
Washington COPAR, editor, Sally Sims Stokes, National Trust
for Historic Preservation Library, McKeldin Library, University
of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Published and mailed
by the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress,
free. Data on architectural records or queries on same, plus
changes and additions to the mailing list should be sent to
Ms. Stokes, the editor.