This section focuses on how to research buildings and places with an emphasis on Bay Area and California.
|QUESTIONS TO ASK||INFORMATION RESOURCES TO USE|
|Built, designed, owned or commissioned it (client)? Owns, regulates, or manages it now?||Architectural Guidebooks; Periodical Articles; Newspaper Articles; Archives; City Directories|
|Lived in or used it or worked in it? In the present?||Neighborhood Histories (PDF); Company Histories; City Directories|
|Lived in the neighborhood when it was built?
Lives there now?
|City Directories; Interviews & Oral Histories|
|Were the important people associated with this place?
|Architecture Biographical Dictionaries; Landscape Architecture Biographical Dictionaries;|
|What||Information Resources to Use|
|Type of building or place is it?
Are the precedents for it?
|Architectural Guidebooks; Building Styles; Building & Landscape Types|
|Was the original function or use of the place?||City Directories; Neighbohood Histories (PDF)|
|Additional or changed functions has it had?||Sanborn & Other Fire Insurance Maps|
|Style is it; how does its style fit in the history of design?||Architectural Guidebooks; Architectural Histories; Style Guides; American Architecture|
|Activities went on in the neighborhood when it was built?
Current activities take place there?
|Newspapers; Neighborhood Histories; General Plans|
|Was the political, regulatory, and economic environment in which it was built?||Newspapers; Zoning & Building Codes; Public Records; General Plans|
|Are its features, materials or plants, and what do these choices signify?||Observation; Architecture Dictionaries; Landscape Architecture Dictionaries; Garden Plants; Archives|
|Is the (often invisible) structure under or behind the design?||Guidebooks; Archival Drawings; Plans, Photos|
|Important events happened here?||Guidebooks; Newspapers|
|Condition is it in?||Observation; Public Records|
|Was there before it was built?||Maps; Neighborhood Histories (PDF); Photos|
|Where||Information Resources to Use|
|Is it now?||Maps|
|Was it originally (as city grew & change)?||Historic Maps; Sanborn Maps; San Francisco Genealogy|
|Did the construction materials originate?||Products & Trade Catalogs; Architectural Histories; Archives; Newspapers|
|Does it fit technologically (typical or advanced for the time)?||Histories of Building Technology, Building Materials and Construction; Landscape Materials|
|Why||Information Resources to Use|
|Was it built or designed?||Newspapers & Periodical Articles; Archives; General Plans|
|Was it built or designed in this specific location?||Census Data; Sanborn Maps; Architectural Histories; General Plans|
|Was it built or designed to look the way it does; what was the designer's intention?||Interviews; Works on Architects; Works on the Landscape Architect; Architectural Style Guides; Archives|
|Is and was it important or significant?||Architectural Guidebooks; General Plans|
|When||Information Resources to Use|
|Was it constructed?||Sanborn Maps; Architectural Guidebooks; Archives; Public Records|
|Was it altered?||Newspaper & Periodical Articles; Public records; Architectural Guidebooks;|
|Were buildings around it constructed; which were there when the place was new?||Photos; Architectural Guidebooks; Early Films of San Francisco|
|How||Information Resources to Use|
|Did people respond to it originally?||Newspaper & Periodical Articles; Diaries; Oral Histories; Films, Videos|
|Do people respond to it now?||Interviews;|
|Did it affect the neighborhood or people in the community?||Sanborn Maps; Interviews; Public Records; Newspaper Articles|
|Did/do neighborhood people influence its design or use?||Newspaper & Periodical Articles; Observation; Public Records|
|Does it compare to similar places elsewhere?||Architectural Guidebooks; Archives|
|Does it relate to its landscape or setting?||Newspaper & Periodical Articles; Observation; Archives|
|Was the topography altered to accommodate this place; how was it accomplished?||Topographic Maps; Photos;|
|Much did it cost to build? Was it expensive?||Archives; Public Records; Newspapers|
|Does it fit in the designer's body of work (typical? a departure? have signature details?)||Works on the Landscape Architect; Works on the Architect|
|Does it look now compared to original appearance?||Archives; Photos; Architectural Histories|
For more resources see San Francisco Bay Area Architects and Architecture Resources; Vernacular Architecture and Landscape Architecture Resources; History and Literature of Landscape Architecture, and other guides available from the Environmental Design Library. Be sure to check the online Library catalogs, OskiCat or Melvyl, for many additional resources, or contact the reference desk in the Environmental Design Library.