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Architectural History: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

This is a primer on basic sources for researching architecture and its history.

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Architecture dictionaries and encylopedias can be a good source for definitions of terms and concepts, illustrations of architectural detail (for example, what does an architrave look like?), and historic developments.  Below is a short list of architecture dictionaries and encyclopedias held at the Helen Topping Architecture and Fine Arts Library (AFA).  Additional materials are listed in the HOMER catalog and can be located by doing a subject search on such terms as architecture-dictionaries or architecture-encyclopedias.

Burden, Ernest.  Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture.  3rd edition.  McGraw-Hill, 2012.  AFA Reference, call number NA31.B83 2012.

This edition includes 8,000 entries and 4,000 illustrations.  It also includes biographies of architects accompanied by illustrative examples of their works.

Ching, Frank (Francis D. K.).  A Visual Dictionary of Architecture.  2nd edition.  Wiley, 2012.  AFA Reference, call number NA31.C44 2012.

This is an update on a classic reference work in architecture that provides finely detailed drawings to illustrate its concise definitions.

Ching, Frank D. K. A Global History of Architecture.  2nd edition.  Wiley, 2011.  AFA Stacks, call n8mber NA200.C493 2011.

An excellent architectural history that offers a wide perspective.

Curl, James Stevens.  A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.  2nd edition.  Oxford University Press, 2006.  AFA Reference, call number NA31.C864 2006.

This dictionary covers all periods of Western architecture in 6,000 entries.  Illustrated.

Davies, Nikolas.  Dictionary of Architecture and Building Construction.  Elsevier, 2008.  AFA Reference, call number NA31.D38 2008.

This source provides definitions of terms related to construction and the built environment.

Fazio, Michael.  A World History of Architecture.  2nd edition.  Laurence King, 2008.  AFA Reference, call number NA200.M575 2008b.

Coverage includes Western, Pre-Columbian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Southeast Asian architecture.

Fletcher, Banister.  A History of Architecture.  20th edition.  Architectural Press, 1996.  AFA Reference NA200.F63 1996.

The classic standard one-volume architectural history updated to include the 20th century.

Goode, Patrick.  The Oxford Companion to Architecture.  2 vols.  Oxford University Press, 2009.  AFA Reference, call number NA31.O94 2009. 

This illustrated encyclopedia has 1500 entries that cover architects, building types, moements and styles, and materials. 

Sennott, Stephen.  Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture.  3 vols, 2nd edition.  Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004.  AFA Reference, NA680.E494 2004.

This encyclopedia contains hundreds of scholarly entries on architects, building types, movements and stylistic trends, and architectural developments in specific geographic locations.

Sharp, Dennis.  Twentieth-century Architecture: A Visual History.  Images Publishing, 2002.  AFA Reference, call number NA680.S527 2002x.

This illustrated guide chronicles technology, engineering, and aesthetics in 20th century architecture.

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Stacy Williams
Helen Topping
Architecture & Fine Arts Library
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