This website showcases exhibitions of the holdings of the Environmental Design Archives and Environmental Design Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Some of these exhibitions are based on physical exhibitions shown at the Environmental Design Library in the Raymond Lifchez and Judith Lee Stronach exhibition cases, while some of the exhibitions are “born digital.”
The Architectural Archives was established in 1953 by William W. Wurster Dean of the School of Architecture. In 1959 the School of Architecture was combined with the Departments of Landscape Architecture, City Planning, and Decorative Arts to form the College of Environmental Design. The historical collections of the Landscape Department were combined with the architecture collections in 1973 to form the "Documents Collection." The collection became the Environmental Design Archives in 1999 in response to the establishment of a formal archival program.
The Archives is Northern California's premiere collection of historic architecture and landscape architecture records, holding more than 100 collections documenting the built and landscaped environment. These records span more than a century and contain primary source materials such as correspondence, reports, specifications, drawings, photographs, and artifacts. Although the archives' primary focus is the San Francisco Bay Area, designers and projects from throughout California, the United States, and the world are found in the collections.
The Environmental Design Archives holds the records of some of California's most important architects including Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, William Wurster, Joseph Esherick, and William Turnbull/MLTW.
Collections of lesser-known architects who nonetheless made significant contributions to the built environment of the San Francisco Bay Area also comprise an important part of the Archives. These collections document hundreds of the commercial storefronts, office buildings, apartment buildings, and institutional structures that constitute the cultural landscape.
Equally integral to the Archives are the collections of significant American and English landscape architects including Thomas Church, Garrett Eckbo, Beatrix Farrand, and Gertrude Jekyll. The Environmental Design Archives also holds the work of architectural photographers. See the Collections tab for more information about specific holdings.
A subject specialty library of the UC Berkeley Library system, the Environmental Design Library is one of the premier architecture, landscape architecture, and city and regional planning libraries in North America. In 1964, when Wurster Hall was completed, the Environmental Design Library was formed by the merger of four departmental libraries: Architecture (founded by John Galen Howard in 1903); Landscape Architecture (founded by John Gregg, 1913); City and Regional Planning (founded in 1948 by Holway R. Jones); and Decorative Arts, formerly Household Arts (founded in 1919).
The Environmental Design Library supports the research and teaching of the College of Environmental Design. In addition to a large selection of electronic resources, the Library's collection includes more than 212,000 volumes and subscriptions to more than 600 serials from all over the world. Students, faculty and staff also have access to the 10 million volumes on the Berkeley campus. The Library collects at the research level in most aspects of the subjects covered.
Architecture strengths include history, theory and practice; housing; vernacular architecture; building science; structures and construction; green design and sustainable architecture; social factors in architectural design; architecture in developing countries; and design methods and processes.
The planning collection's strengths are history, theory and practice; urban design; city, regional and state planning; land use planning; social services planning; regional and economic development; community development; developing countries; environmental planning and policy; housing; urban design; and transportation planning.
The landscape architecture collection includes history, theory and practice; site planning; environmental planning; place theory and history; site specific landscape design; landscape ecology and restoration; landscape modeling; park design; landscape plants; community participation in landscape design; and geographic information systems. Enhanced by the Beatrix Farrand endowment and Reef Point Gardens Library, the collection is noted for its 19th-century journals and the history of gardens and landscape architecture from the 17th through the 19th centuries.
A rare book collection of more than 4,000 volumes represents early treatises, limited editions, materials with original reproductions or fine bindings, artists' books, and materials from the libraries of John Galen Howard, Beatrix Farrand, Frederick Law Olmsted and F.L. Olmsted, Jr., Greene and Greene, and William Charles Hays, among others.