One brisk New York winter’s eve I skipped into the Century Association, thrilled that the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art had arranged a visit to see Charles Platt’s book collection. His scrapbooks, with shiny photographs lining black pages, were the highlight. In awed silence I imagined Platt studying them as he designed his own projects. Designers need access to good precedents, yet one cannot always dash off to study buildings and places in person. It is with that in mind that I have assembled and shared my Architectural Image Database.
Over the past year I have scanned my collection of architectural photographs and, along with my digital images, uploaded them all to Flickr. They are now available for design professionals, educators, authors, students, and anyone seeking such references. While the collection is limited by the extent of my own travels and interests, it does capture buildings and landscapes across Canada, the United States, Jamaica, Barbados, England, Ireland, Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Tunisia in over 12,800 images.
The photographs are arranged into thematic collections including locations, building types and architectural, landscape, and interior details. There are also special collections for Classical architecture and museums. Within each collection, you will find sets of photographs for specific cities, buildings, elements such as windows and doors, specific orders like the Ionic, ornament, and more. Generally things are arranged alphabetically, though sometimes I have chosen to arrange them in what I hope is an intuitive manner.
Each image is tagged with information such as location, building name, architect and, if applicable, the type of building or architectural element. Some images have detailed information and links to further resources. You may explore the collection by browsing through the collections and sets, or by searching. As I add more tags, you will be able to search quite specifically.
Please feel free to share this resource widely, for surely the more we have access to good lessons of design, the more we will improve our built environment.