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Architecture & Design Collections Research Guide

An introduction to the Getty's substantial architecture and design archival holdings, secondary research materials, and online resources, including strategies for researching the built environment.


Model of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, Frank Gehry, 2003. Frank Gehry Papers. The Getty Research Institute. © Frank O. Gehry

The architecture and design collections of the Getty Library include a vast array of materials related to architecture and the design of exhibitions, interiors, graphics, textiles, and industrial materials. These diverse resources reveal the complex dimensions of the design process, from initial sketches and study models to evocative final renderings, detailed construction drawings, and published promotional photographs. The collection's extensive archival materials include letters, notebooks, audiovisual materials and ephemera that outline the evolving themes and issues of architectural discourse. International holdings date from 1500 to the present, with concentrations in 19th- and 20th-century avant-garde movements and mid-20th-century modernism.

Highlights of the collection include the archives of progressive Southern California architects Frank Gehry, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Frank Israel, and William Krisel; international projects by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman, Yona Friedman, Zaha Hadid, Philip Johnson, Daniel Libeskind, Aldo Rossi, Bernard Rudofsky, Lebbeus Woods, and Frank Lloyd Wright; the influential architectural photography of Julius Shulman and Lucien Hervé; and the papers of Reyner Banham, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Nikolaus Pevsner. For a more in-depth discussion of the collections, please see a feature on the Getty Library collections that appeared in Espazium as part of their series Archives of Architecture

We welcome you to contact the Getty Library for further information about our holdings or to make an appointment to view materials on site.

Getting Started

Please use these webpages along with our Library Catalog to identify collections of interest.

Significant portions of some collections, such as the Julius Shulman Photography Archive, are accessible online. If no digital surrogate exists, you are welcome to visit our library to access the archives.

Appointments are required to view Special Collections materials. Please contact us well in advance of your intended visit to reserve a seat in our reading room.

Once you have an appointment, you can begin to select your materials. Items must be paged at least 24 hours in advance of your arrival. In most cases, you will need to consult the online finding aid or inventory of the specific archive in order to identify the boxes you need. Please make a note of the box numbers required and then log in to the Library Catalog. Paging boxes requires a patron ID number that will be assigned by a librarian when you make your appointment.

Please send any additions, corrections, or other suggestions to