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Architecture Resources: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

A research guide to UC Berkeley library and web resources, historical and contemporary. This guide also provides links to some full text resources.


Dictionaries - Foreign Language


  • Briggs, Martin Shaw. Everyman's concise encyclopaedia of architecture. New York: Dutton, 1960.Brief information on major styles, periods, terms and architects. British emphasis.
  • Companion to contemporary architectural thought, ed. by Ben Farmer and Hentie Louw. London: New York Routledge, 1993. Not really an encyclopedia, but a wonderful "snyoptic collaborative work" that brings together a series of essays (90% commissioned especially for this book) written by an international assortment of architects and historians. Introduces the reader to the essential qualities of architecture as revealed through history, and provide an "appreciation of the general state of the architectural world as it appears at the close of the 20th century." Includes bibliographies.
  • Contemporary masterworks, editor, Colin Naylor. Chicago: St. James Press, 1991. 450 masterpieces of art, architecture, photography and design, mostly produced since 1945. Includes critical essay, photo, identifying data (date, designer, location, etc.) and bibliography for each work. Arranged chronologically within genre.
  • Dictionary of art , editor, Jane Turner. New York: Grove, 1996. 34 vols. Comprehensive encyclopedia of art and architecture, with good bibliographies. Index is volume 34.
  • Dizionario Enciclopedico di architettura e urbanisticaDiretto da Paolo Portoghesi. Rome: 1st editoriale romano, 1968-1969. 6 vols. Comprehensive architecture and planning dictionary in Italian. Includes many illustrations and covers topics worldwide, including historic and contemporary architects.
  • Elements of style: an practical encyclopedia of interior architectural details, from 1485 to the present. Rev. ed. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. Illustrations and definitions of stylistic details of architecture and interiors by period.
  • Encyclopaedic dictionary in the eighteenth century: architecture, arts, and crafts, compiled by Terence M. Russell. Aldershot, England: Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate, 1997. 5 vols. Includes Lexicon technicum: incorporating works of Sir Francis Bacon and Sir Henry Wotton; Cyclopaediaby Ephraim Chambers; The builder's dictionaryA dictionary of the English language by Samuel Johnson; and A society of gentlemen: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Includes bibliographic references and indexes.
  • Encyclopedia of architectural technology. Edited by Pedro Guedes. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979. Architectural styles, building types, building techniques through the ages, including the present.
  • Encyclopedia of architecture: design, engineering & construction. Ed. Joseph A. Wilkes. New York: Wiley, 1988-1990. 5 vols. Covers all aspects of architecture, including biographies of major contemporary architects, building types, styles, materials, organizations, etc. Articles include bibliographies. Vol. 5 includes supplementary material and index.
  • Encyclopedia of building technologyEd. by Henry J. Cowan. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988. 210 brief articles written by experts in the field of building technology, each with bibliographic references.
  • Encyclopedia of how it's built.Edited by Donald Clarke. New York: A&W Publishers, 1979. Clear, simple explanations and illustrations from bridges to skyscrapers.
  • Encyclopedia of vernacular architecture of the world, edited by Paul Oliver. Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.3 vols. Comprehensive encyclopedia with articles by experts in their fields. Vol. 1, theories and principles; Vols. 2-3, cultures and habitats, geographically. Complex hierarchical and alphabetical organizational structure--be sure to read the explanation on how to use. Includes cross-references, glossary, comparative lexikon of terms in 6 languages, bibliography, index of cultures, habitats, nations and locations, and general index.
  • Encyclopedia of 20th century architectureEd. by Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1986. Translation ofHatje-Lexikon der Architektur des 20. Jahrhunderts. Particularly useful for brief biographies of 20th century architects and architectural surveys of individual nations in this century. Annotations include brief bibliographies.
  • Encyclopedia of world art. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959-83. 16 vols. Comprehensive information and bibliographies as well as good illustrations, on most aspects of architecture, especially history. Index contained in Vol.15.
  • Hunt, William Dudley. Encyclopedia of American architectureNew York: McGraw-Hill, 1980. Discusses in encyclopedia format major elements of American architecture. Good overviews.
  • International dictionary of architects and architectureEd. by Randall J. Van Vynckt. Detroit: St.James Press, 1993. 2 vols. (Vol. 1, Architects; Vol. 2, Architecture) Encyclopedia of prominent architects and buildings in Western architectural history. Vol. 1 contains architect entries arranged alphabetically with biographical data and lists of publications written by or about each architect. A buildings name index is included. Architecture entries in Vol. 2 are arranged by country and include pertinent facts and lists of publications relating to each building, with a separate architect index. Includes illustrations.
  • Planat, Paul Amedee. Encyclopedie de l'architecture et de la constructionParis, Dujardin et cie [189-?] 6vols. plus index. Historical importance.
  • Singer, Charles Joseph. History of technologyOxford: Clarendon Press, 1954-1984. 8 vols. History of technology, including architecture and building technology--tools, techniques, and materials--from ancient times through the 20th century. The last volume consists of a cumulative index by subject, personal name, and place.
  • Stierlin, Henri. Encyclopedia of world architecture2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1979. 2 vols. Very brief entries, but good for plans and illustrations of significant buildings. Covers up to 1960s. Indexes in several languages. Buildings listed by city
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