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Architecture & Design

This guide is intended to help you get started with your architecture & design research.

Library Catalogue Searches

Please note that any physical items located in TFDL High Density Library (HDL) will have to be requested for delivery to the main campus. For more information on how to request an item for delivery you can take a look at our borrowing services page located here.

Any books located in TFDL Reference are located on the first floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library and are available for in library use only.

Search on your architect's name, the building name, city district and any other terms you may have identified

Sample general searches:

  • "Calgary and (architect$ or home$ or house$ or building$)"
  • "Canad$ and (historic$ or heritage) and (architect$ or building$)"

Note the following two research guides to locating local historic information. 

Canadian Art Files

Located in Visual & Performing Arts, Taylor 3rd floor

We have clipping files for Canadian architects and some by building

  • E.g.  "Alberta / Calgary / Encana Tower" file contains 41 ephemeral items (as of December 2007). 
  • Note keywords found in clippings, such as other building and architect/builder names, to use as search terms in other sources, e.g. the historic York Hotel.

See also:

Spatial and Numeric Data Services

(Taylor 4th floor)

  • For early Calgary airphotos, fire insurance plans, City Files (electronic) and more.
  • E.g. One can do research on the site of a Mount Royal home from different time periods - from the time it was a field to more recent years.
  • Airphotos can be borrowed long enough to have photographs made of them.

Canadian Architectural Archives

  • Comprised of photographs as well as architectural drawings - some of which are online in our Archictectural Archvies database
  • The curator may have further suggestions to locate local architectural information. Email : or Call: tel:(403)220-3996

Art and Canadian Studies Article Indexes

Title: Art and Architecture in Canada: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature to 1981. V.1 -- V.2 Lerner, Loren and Williamson, Mary F.   

Location:  N6540 .L47 1991 TFDL HDL and Online

Title: Bibliography of Canadian ArchitectureSimmins, Geoffrey, comp.  

Location: NA 745 .S55 1992 TFDL HDL 

  • Online indexes are good sources of both current and retrospective information.  Newspaper indexes provide the most current information.  Although not always the most scholarly information, in some cases the only information you are going to find is in newspapers.

Indexes Artists in Canada (Open Web) 

  • Indexes Canadian Artist Files, including architects, in art libraries across Canada, including University of Calgary Library's up until 1988. 

Art Abstracts Online: 1929-   (UofC only)

  • Go to Open Database Selection Area (top of screen) and choose to search both databases
  • Note: Architecture is included in most art sources

Art Index Retrospective ( UofC only)

  • This index is produced by The H.W. Wilson Company, is a bibliographic database that cumulates citations to Art Index volumes 1-32 of the printed index published between 1929-1984.

Canadian Newsstand  (UofC only)

  • Covers articles, columns, and features published by many Canadian daily and weekly newspapers.

Canadian Encyclopedia  

  • See sections on architecture, names of architects, buildings, and so on.

Canadian Periodical Index Online: 1988-
(UofC only)

  • Canadian and international periodicals, with emphasis on mainstream and academic titles
  • Includes some full-text articles

See other: Architectural Archives Research Guide and Canadian Studies Research Guide for other online resources.

City of Calgary

  • On the City of Calgary Heritage Web site at: , choose Inventory of Potential Heritage Sites on the bottom right of page.
  • The City'a Inventory of Potential Heritage Sites built prior to 1952 is categorized into A, B and C lists, according to priority/ heritage importance. For A list some research has been carried out for each of these buildings. The associated files are available from the City's Planning Department Library on the 4th floor of the Municipal Building. A file may have info about the building's architectural features and significance, and a bit about it's historical importance, who owned it, who lived in it, etc. researched from archival sources, that would be hard to locate anywhere else. Not sure about photographs, but I would certainly try there.
  • In addition, there is a link on the above page to Contact Heritage, another place to ask for information.

Glenbow Museum

  • The Glenbow Museum, including e.g. the Photograph Archives
  • Contact them for further assistance


I sometimes find useful information, dare I say, in  Wikipedia, e.g. the Encana building project article.