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Architecture & Design

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

Basic Research Steps for Your Paper

Record exact information for any of the books, journals or websites in which you find information.  Use this information to locate the items and to cite the items in your bibliography, including article titles, article authors, book/journal/encyclopedia titles and editors/authors, publishers, dates, volume numbers/issue numbers/pages, and URL’s with date of access.


See Architecture & Design Reference Shelf above.

Look up your topic in online and print Canadian and art dictionaries and encyclopedias. Print art reference books are part of the Visual & Performing Arts Reference Collection on the 3rd floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library.  These books do not circulate.

In these reference books, look for other words, such as relevant achitects’ names and names of any periods or art movements of interest, that describe your topic to use for search and/or index terms in other online and print sources.

Note especially:
Grove Art Online in Oxford Art Online (UofC only)

To gain a quick context and overview of your topic, scan several articles in Oxford Art Online related to your topic, e.g. the article on your architect, on the architectural style, period, or movement; on any specialized techniques or media; and on the country at that time - countries are divided by medium and time periods.

For example, from Grove Art Online, type in the architect's name, architectural style, technique, or country into the search term box for Article Headings:

  • Architect: Baillif, Claude
  • Styles: Neo-classicism or Gothic revival
  • Special techniques: Timber structure
  • Country : Canada / Architecture / Before 1867
    • Note Related Articles
  • Other place names such as Quebec or Halifax
  • Note the bibliographies, and Related Articles as appropriate such as Native North American art, §II: Dwellings and other structures.

EXPLORE feature example:

  • Art and Art Forms: Architecture
  • Geography: North America / Canada
  • Styles and Cultures: Choose in order to see list of Styles and Cultures that meet above criteria.
    On the right side of the screen a list of Key Articles and Results list of articles on individual artists meeting the above criteria will appear 

Art and Architecture in Canada: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature to 1981 (Online access through UofC only) / Lerner, Loren and Williamson, Mary F.. 
Also available in print: N6540 .L47 1991 V.1-2 TFDL HDL
An important index to art and architecture articles in early Canadian journals, most of which the Library holds

  • Look up your subject in the index volume (note that this volume contains both an English and French language index).  Note abstract numbers. 
  • Look up abstract numbers in the volume with the citations and abstracts
  • Identify potentially useful articles.  Write down full citations.
  • Check the library catalogue to see if we have the journal, exhibition catalogue, or such.

Bibliography of Canadian Architecture / Geoffrey Simmons: NA 745 .S55 1992   TFDL HDL

Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 (Online Access through U of C) 

Canadian Encyclopedia (Online Access through U of C)

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

The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture  (Online Access through U of C)

Physical Copy also available: NA31 .C864 2015 TFDL Main Collection

"Architecture" in Encyclopedia of North American Indians (UofC only)

A Guide to Canadian Architectural Styles. 2nd ed.: NA740 .M35 2004 TFDL Main Collection


Look up your topic, including relevant architects’ names, architectural styles, mediums, time periods and any other pertinent term identified in reference sources above in the Library Catalogue to find out what we have here at the University Library.

  • Use the search (Boolean) operators AND and OR and the truncation symbol $
    • E.g.  (canad$ or Ontario or Quebec) and (art or architect$ or housing or building$) and 19th century
  • To locate specific information in books on broader topics, use table of contents and indexes. For example, in books on Canadian art, look for architecture in the index and/or table of contents.   


See Selected Art and Canadian Article Indexes below and on the Art and Art History Research Guide and/ or on the Canadian Studies Research Guide.

Look up your topic in the online and print journal indexes to identify relevant journal articles.  Then determine whether the Library has the required journal issue(s) by using the SFX automated library holdings search feature in the online indexes that have this feature, or by searching the Library Catalogue yourself using the Browse feature together with the Periodical Title field.  The entry in the Library Catalogue will indicate whether we have the journal issues you need in print or online. Access to e-journals is via the hot link in the detailed entry in the Library Catalogue. Note call number & location for print . 

Journal articles that the Library does not hold may be obtained through Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery.  Note that obtaining articles from other libraries requires time.


  • See the Image LibGuide and Selected Web Resources below
  • Google Image search:, then choose Images tab
    Look for copyright statements regarding educational use on websites.  Personal use and inclusion in an undergraduate paper that is not published or distributed in any way, including not put on a webpage, is usually acceptable use.
  • Colour copiers are available in the TFDL Learning Commons.


Building Canada: A selection of images from the John Bland Collection of Canadian Architecture, McGill University Libraries' Special Collections

Parks Canada—National Historic Sites

L’Anse aux Meadows - National Historic Site.

Ontario Heritage’s buildings.

Mount Uniacke House, Nova Scotia.

Explore the Hill—Excellent virtual tours of historic Ottawa Parliament Buildings

Fort Sainte-Marie among the Hurons (good visuals)

Ontario Architecture Website (excellent photographs)

Canadian Museum of History

French Canada

Virtual Museum of New France 

  • Living in New France at the time of Champlain

Acadian site (in French) on Port Royal. (see also here for some nice personal photos of Port Royal

Indigenous sites

Royal British Columbia Museum



Note that most Art sources include architecture.

Art Abstracts/Art Index Retrospective/OmniFile Full Text Select (UofC only): 1929- ; abstracts 1994-

  • Key English language art index/abstracting service
  • Selected full text available in OmniFile
  • Indexes more than 250 international, arts publications including periodicals, yearbooks, museum bulletins, competition and award notices, exhibition listings, interviews, film reviews, and reproductions of works of art in articles.
  • Ancient to modern; African and oriental art; architecture; some photography, art education, film
  •  enabled
  • Direct export to

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.  See also Canadian Art Files page

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (UofC only): 1977-

  • The most comprehensive index for architecture
  • Indexes more than 1,000 periodicals published worldwide on architecture, archaeology, city planning, interior design, and historic preservation. 

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) (1975-2007 ) (Open Web)

  • Scholarly index of the current literature of western art: European art from late antiquity to the present, and American art from the European discoveries to the present. Visual arts media in the broadest sense are included: architecture, painting, sculpture, drawing...
  • Indexes and abstracts chapters in books, 1,200 periodicals, exhibition catalogues, conference proceedings, festschriften, collections of essays, selected dealers catalogues, doctoral dissertations.  Excludes artists’ books and auction catalogues.
  • English or French translation is provided for titles in languages other than German, Italian and Spanish. Abstracts are in either French or English
  • Covers BHA (1990-2007) and Répertoire international de la littérature de l'art (RILA) = International repertory of the literature of art - one of the predecessors of BHA, with records that cover 1975–1989.
  • BHA Search Tips

Canadian Architectural Periodical Index 1940-1980:    NA 740 .B47 1986   TFDL HDL

  • One volume index in print

Canadian Periodical Index  (UofC only): 1988-

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