The architecture collection serves the needs of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, which offers courses at both undergraduate (Bachelor of Environmental Design) and Master’s of Arts levels. Other departments may also use this collection, including the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory.


Overview of the strengths of the existing collection


The architecture collection is housed in the Art + Architecture + Planning Library in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The library’s collection, numbering over 200,000 items (including over 400 current journal subscriptions) is rich in Canadian, Pre-Columbian, Asian, Italian Renaissance, and Baroque art as well as the history of architecture.


Current areas of collecting

The architecture selector covers architectural history, theory, criticism, and design for special populations, sustainability, housing and urban design, and environmental studies. Canadian architecture and in particular, the architecture of British Columbia, is of special emphasis.

Research and publishing characteristics

Books on architecture fall into the following general categories: theory, historical, engineering/technical, and design. Theory, history, and design books overlap with art, and technical books overlap with science/engineering. Books on architectural projects, housing, urban design, sustainability, and environmental and social aspects of architecture overlap with community and regional planning. These overlaps are reflected in courses offered in other departments. Books with scholarly content on architecture published in the United States or Canada are supplied by an approval plan. All other materials on architectural history are so closely related to art history that many of the art books contain as much information on architecture as on art.




The collection includes books, journals, article indexes, image databases and more. In addition, there are cabinets of files with an emphasis on architecture.


Chronological limits



There are no exclusions.

Publication date

The majority of acquisitions will be for current publications, with retrospective purchasing to fill collection gaps and to meet research needs of users, in particular faculty.




Predominantly English language, but we collect in all western European languages. We buy books in the Asian languages, as long as there is some text in the western languages.

Geographic origin


We collect from all areas worldwide, emphasizing Canada, the United States, the Pacific Rim, and Europe. More selective collecting is done for Central and South America.


Books without critical text, textbooks, blueprints, manufacturers catalogues, 3-D models, slides, computer-aided design programs (CADD), “how to” renovation books, text books, revised editions which do not have significant text changes, dissertations (unless published as a monograph), or popular biographies on architects.

We buy limited numbers of stand-alone CD-ROMs; most of the CD-ROMs we collect are incorporated into published monographs.

Collections in other UBC Libraries/ Areas of overlap


Asian Library: Material on the arts with text in Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Indic languages.

Education Library: Material on teaching art, and some “how to” books.

Koerner Library: Multidisciplinary material involving a mix of visual art and literature, music, theatre, film, etc.


Woodward Library: Material on botanical illustration and anatomical drawing.