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Architecture Research @ Yale: How to Find Architecture Resources

How to Research a Building at Yale Library Flowchart

Building Research Flow chart (Text Only)

Title: "Building Research Flow Chart" 

Top of chart begins Q: "Is it it a Yale building?" 

If "Yes":

  1. Start with the Office of Facilities Building Search Tool (link: which provides basic building information such as architect, usage, ownership, architectural typology, and a description of the building’s history. To search, type in the building name or address and click the teal “more” button.
  2. Yale Library holds the records for Yale buildings. You can find relevant archival collections (including plans and drawings) a few ways:
    1. RU 1 Architectural drawings and maps of Yale University buildings and grounds (Link:
    2. RU 2 Yale University buildings and grounds architectural documentation (Link:
    3. RU 5 Yale University buildings project records (Link:
    4. Manuscripts and Archives Digital Collection Library (Link:
    5. New Haven Building Archive (pink dots represent Yale buildings) (Link:
  3. You can find some yale building drawings, plans, and images via digital collection databases.
    1. Yale Digital Collections (link:
    2. Artstor (Link:
    3. Building Types Online (link:
  4. Many Yale buildings have been written about in trade publications and scholarly journals, particularly if it is of historic significance. Journal articles often contain news events related to the building or architect, criticism, background, and oftentimes plans, drawings, and other visual materials. You can search for a Yale building in the following architectural journals:
    1. Avery Index (link:
    2. Art + Architecture Source (link:
  5. For general context, history, and background of Yale buildings, check out secondary sources. A few suggested resources:
    1. Yale in New Haven: Architecture & Urbanism by Vincent Scully (cites primary source material at Yale and other repositories)
      1. Catalog record link:
    2. Buildings and Grounds of Yale University by Richard C. Carroll
      1. Catalog record link:
  • If "No" to Q then continue to next question

Was the building created within the last 5-10 years?

  • If "Yes":  Buildings constructed within the last five to ten years may not be represented in archival collections. If you are interested in researching a more recent building, you may wish to contact the architect or firm who designed and constructed the building.
  • if "No" to Q then continue to next question.

Is the building or structure historically significant or objectively well-known?

  • If Yes: For well-known buildings, you can often find entire books written about them or the architect. Start a search in Quicksearch for the building and/or architect name. Then, follow the steps for general building research.
  • If "No" to Q then continue to next question.

Is the building US-based?

Is it a landmarked building?

  • If Yes: if the building has landmarked status, you could find historical information, details, and drawings available in the application documentation.
  • If "No" to Q then continue to "General Building Research"

General Building Research:

Tip: Few buildings have had single books written about them, so it’s important to conduct searches for the architect’s or firm’s name across the professional and popular literature for information about a particular building.

Books: For background research, try using broader categories such as “churches” or “apartment buildings” to locate books that might have a chapter or section on the building of your research.

Journals and Trade Publications: architecture databases are a good starting place for scholarly criticism, news features, and images (including drawings):

Image Databases are helpful for locating images, drawings, plans, and maps.

For more information visit

Research questions? Contact Tess Colwell (