Artstor just launched the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (Library of Congress), architectural photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston’s systematic record of early American buildings and gardens in the South. Johnston’s masterly portrayals of the exteriors and interiors of houses, mills, churches, mansions, plantations, and outbuildings transcend their purpose as records, and her prints have been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, among other institutions. Johnston was a pioneer photographer—she was given her first camera by George Eastman, the inventor of roll film—and she continued to work at her craft until her death in New Orleans at the age of 88. She was named an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects for her work in preserving old and endangered buildings.
The Carnegie Survey is the latest of the many excellent resources available for architectural studies in the Digital Library, which features more than 50 collections and 300,000 images documenting architecture and the built environment, including monuments, buildings, drawings, models, plans, and QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas.
Highlights include: The Museum of Modern Art: Architecture and Design, which features architectural drawings, models, and photographs; SAHARA (Society of Architectural Historians Architecture Resources Archive), images of architecture, landscape design, and the built environment; Ezra Stoller: Modern Architecture (Esto), modern architecture from the archive of the celebrated architectural photographer; the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, documentation of the architect’s early works, major projects to date, and related plans and preparatory drawings; Architecture of Venice (Sarah Quill), Venetian architecture and architectural sculpture; Hal Box and Logan Wagner: Mexican Architecture and Urban Design (University of Texas at Austin), architecture and outdoor communal spaces in Mexico; Carnegie Survey of Architecture of the South (Library of Congress), a systematic record of early buildings and gardens in the American South; Brian Davis: Architecture in Britain, British and European architectural and garden sites from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century; European Architecture and Sculpture (Sara N. James), Italian and English architecture, with an emphasis on sites in England; Dov Friedman: American and European Architecture, historic architecture of New York City, as well as sites in Central and Eastern Europe; Hartill Archive of Architecture and Allied Arts, the architectural history of the Western world from antiquity through the present, and from the Middle East to the Americas; Historic Campus Architecture Project (Council of Independent Colleges), the first national architecture and landscape database of independent college and university campuses; Historic Illustrations of Art & Architecture (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), engravings, line drawings, and plans; Christopher Long: Central European Architecture (University of Texas at Austin), sites in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland; Wilfried Wang: Modern Architecture (University of Texas at Austin), modern European and American architecture, with a special focus on museum architecture.
The collections in the Digital Library also include several devoted to non-Western architecture. Among the most notable are Islamic Art and Architecture Collection (Sheila Blair, Jonathan Bloom, Walter Denny), architecture of the Islamic world; Alka Patel: South Asian and Cuban Art and Architecture, fieldwork photography focusing on the Islamic architectural history of South Asia from 12th to the 18th centuries, and Cuban architecture of the 18th through early 20th centuries; Mellon International Dunhuang Archive, Buddhist cave shrines in Dunhuang, China; Sites and Photos, archaeological and architectural sites in the Middle East and Europe; American Institute of Indian Studies, Indian art and architecture; Art, Archaeology, and Architecture (Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Arts Archives), art and architecture in Asia and the Middle East; Herbert Cole: African Art, Architecture, and Culture (University of California, Santa Barbara), field photography of African architecture and sites from Nigeria, Ghana, the Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Kenya; and James Conlon: Mali and Yemen Sites and Architecture, earthen architecture and other traditions that link the two distant countries.
In addition to its many collections, Artstor collaborates with professional photographers documenting a wide range of architectural sites and monuments around the world. Colleen Chartier and Rob Wilkinson of ART on FILE document contemporary architecture, built environment projects, and landscape architecture throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East in ART on FILE: Contemporary Architecture, Urban Design and Public Art; Susan Silberberg-Peirce of Canyonlights World Art Image Bank photographed prehistoric and Native American sites in the Southwestern United States and Spanish Colonial missions, available in California Art, Archaeology, and Architecture (Canyonlights World Art Image Bank); art historian and photographer Ralph Lieberman is producing new images of contemporary museum architecture throughout the United States and Canada in Ralph Lieberman: Architectural Photography; and Columbia University has created thousands of QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramas of ancient to contemporary architecture that can be seen in QTVR Panoramas of World Architecture (Columbia University).
Furthermore, with the support of a three-year National Leadership grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Artstor, and The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University are collaborating on the creation of a Built Works Registry (BWR), a community-generated data resource for architectural works and the built environment. The BWR’s goal is to create the system and tools to enable the gathering and widespread dissemination of a large and growing body of built works information. Some ideas about the challenges and benefits of creating the BWR can be found in Aaron Straup Cope and Christine Kuan’s paper, “Imagining the Built Works Registry.” See Built Works Registry Blog.
For teaching ideas, see our Sample Topic on Architecture and the Built Environment. To view all our Sample Topics, visit the Digital Library and click on “Featured Groups.” For more interdisciplinary ideas, download Artstor’s Subject Guides.
Have other suggestions for new architecture collections? Leave us a comment!