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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.

Architectural Photography Archives

Baird, Joseph Armstrong 1922-1992 (American)

Joseph Armstrong Baird collection of nineteenth century architectural photographs. (Accession # 88.R.8)

  • Summary: Nineteenth century views concentrating on architecture in Europe, especially Italy (ancient, early Christian, Medieval, Renaissance and 19th century), France, Germany and Great Britain. Other countries include Algeria, Egypt and South Africa in Africa, China, Hong Kong, Japan and India in Asia, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey in Europe. A few photographs document Mexico and Hawaii in North America.Subjects include exterior and interior views of religious buildings, palaces, government buildings and theatres, as well as panoramas of towns and cities and views of streets and plazas. Several photographs document International expositions and street scenes of the Paris Commune.


​​​Drinkwater, Harry 1919-2014 (American)​

​Harry Drinkwater photographs documenting Los Angeles art and architecture. (Accession # 2011.R.23)

  • Summary: The collection of over 140 photographic prints and 1200 negatives represents a portion of Harry Drinkwater's professional and personal output and documents Los Angeles’s mid-century design movement as well as its wider artistic and social circles. The Venice-based photographer’s work captures the changing cultural landscapes of Venice and Los Angeles in the mid- to-late twentieth century: the opening of architect Paul Williams’s Golden State Mutual Insurance Company building in 1949, the first African American-owned insurance firm in the city; the performances of dancers Thelma Oliver and Ruth Saturensky; the artwork of Camille Billops, Robert Boggs and Dewain Valentine; and the revitalization of Venice Beach. African American architects, designers and artists and their works feature prominently in the collection.The photographs in Series I are primarily of work by noted Los Angles-area architects and designers, many of whom were African-American pioneers in their fields, including Paul and John Williams, John Smith, Robert Kennard and Tommy Greene. Three negatives depict Paul Williams's Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building. A few portraits are also included here, notably one of decorator John Smith seated in John Lautner's Chemosphere House. The photographs Drinkwater took for Kelsey Screens represent some of his first architectural work for hire.Series II comprises photographs of the works of Southern California artists, performers, filmmakers, and gallerists, views of the artists' studios and of the artists at work and portraits of the artists, with an emphasis on California-based African Americans. Many of the artists represented, including Charlie Nothing, Bill Attaway and Dewain Valentine, were part of the local Venice Beach art scene, while others such as Gordon Wagner, Don Amis, Roland Charles and Noah Purifoy worked in the greater Los Angeles area. The artists represented range from up-and-coming to established to the perennially counterculture artists. Also included are few of Drinkwater's own artist projects as well as portraits of Drinkwater by unknown photographers.The photographs in Series III are primarily related to Venice, Santa Monica and other southern California coastal locations, with an emphais on Venice Beach and environs, where Drinkwater lived and worked for over six decades. A black-and-white joined panorama from the late 1970s or early 1980s records Ocean Front Walk, during which time it was returning to its spot as a tourist destination after a long decline following the closure of Venice's amusement piers and dance halls that began in the late 1940s and continued into the 1960s. Drinkwater's photographs capture the vibrant life of the area from the late 1970s to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Subjects range from views of legendary cultural venues such as the Come Back Inn, Venice's jazz showcase and Mark Kornfeld's Sponto Gallery, to images of Venice boardwalk street performers, the Venice Graffiti Pit and the annual Hare Krishna parade. Also found in this series are views of Santa Monica and other beach communities taken from the 1960s to the 1980s, and views of Los Angeles freeway construction in 1964.

Finsler, Hans 1891-1972 (Swiss, photographer, educator, and librarian)

Hans Finsler photographs of the Werkbundsiedlung, Zürich, 1930-1931. (Accession # 890029)

  • Summary: Fifty-one black-and-white vintage photographic prints by Hans Finsler of the Swiss Werkbund housing development in Zürich/Wollishofen, 1932 (Neubühl housing development, Zürich). The housing project was designed and executed by the architectural firms Artaria & Schmidt, Moser & Roth, M. E. Haefeli and others. The pictures show various stages of the building process as well as interior and exterior details before and after completion and carry captations.

Hervé, Lucien 1910-2007 (French painter and architectural photographer)

Lucien Hervé architectural photographs. (Accession # 98.R.34)

  • Summary: Thirteen black-and-white photographs mounted on paper with handwritten titles documenting the architectural work of the Swiss and French architect, author, city planner, painter, and sculptor Charles Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier (1887-1965) and Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (b. 1907). Six photographs document Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitations, Marseille, dated between 1949-1953 (nos. 9, 10, 12, 25, 30, and 32); four photographs document Le Corbusier's High Court dated 1955 (no. 8, 28, and 33) and Secrétariat dated 1961 (no. 19), all in Chandigar, India. Three photographs document Niemeyer's Palais de Justice, Brasilia (no.15), Théatre de Plain Air, Brasilia (no.18), and another titled Brasilia (no. 21) all dated 1961. The photographs are stamped and annotated on their backs.
  • Other Archival Locations: Lucien Hervé photographs of architecture and artworks by Le Corbusier; accessioned as a separate acquisition, accession # 2002.R.41.

Lucien Hervé photographs of architecture and artworks by Le Corbusier. (Accession # 2002.R.41)

  • Summary: Collection contains over 18,000 black and white negatives, supplemented by black and white prints, and over 3000 color transparencies taken by Lucien Hervé as Le Corbusier's official photographer. Images included are not only of Le Corbusier's executed buildings, but also his architectural designs which were never realized as well as his non-architectural works, such as paintings, tapestries, and sculpture.

Photographic reproductions of Lucien Hervé contact sheets, [Photographed ca. 1950- ca. 1965; digitized 2009] (Accession # 2010.R.14)

  • Summary: Digital reproductions of approximately 1050 original contact sheets (each containing 10-12 images) by Lucien Hervé, documenting the buildings of Le Corbusier. [digitized]


Hutzel, Max 1913-1988 (German photographer and scholar, active in Italy)

Max Hutzel photographs of art and architecture in Italy [Foto arte minore] (Accession # 86.P.8)

  • Summary: Max Hutzel's "Foto arte minore" project comprises thorough photographic documentation of art historical development in Italy up to the 18th century, including objects of the Etruscans and the Romans, as well as early Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. Consonant with Hutzel's belief that throughout Italy there are minor artistic centers that deserve attention, sites depicted are frequently obscure and previously undocumented. Hutzel's work is typified by a feeling for place that goes beyond the purely documentary. Included are thorough interior and exterior documentation of secular buildings, museum holdings, ancient ruins, and religious institutions covering a broad range of artistic forms and styles, including architecture, painting, frescoes, sculpture, manuscripts, metalwork and other minor arts, ranging in date from Antiquity to late Baroque. The regions most heavily represented are: the Abruzzi, Lazio (including Rome), the Marches, and Umbria. Additional photos cover sites in: Basilicata, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Guilia, Lombardy, Piedmont, Puglia, Sardinia, Tuscany, and Veneto.The collection contains more than 67,000 black-and-white prints and approximately 86,400 negatives. Because Hutzel carefully cropped his images for printing, the prints more accurately represent his style than the negatives. Also included are circa 825 photographs of medieval buildings and art in Campania, in the ancient region called "Campi Flegrei," made in 1990 by Roberto Sigismondi, Hutzel's long-time assistant (some 800 additional images from this campaign have been removed and interfiled in the Photo Study Collection's Antiquities section.) [digitized]

Michel, Robert 1876-1957 (German)

Photographs of architecture and illuminated advertisements, 1925-1933. (Accession # 860013)

  • Summary: Photographs (b&w), partially mounted and probably prepared for exhibition purposes (BDA exhibition, 1933), are of an Esso gasoline station redesigned by Michel (23 items), of the Frankfurt electrical building (Städtische Elektrizitätswerke) by Adolf Meyer, 1928/29 (9 items), of signs by Michel for commercial establishments (17 items), of a "Notariat Schröder" by Michel (3 items), a model of a house (1 item), and interiors (2 items). The photographs were taken by Michel, M. Gollner, and others. Also included are two sheets of typographical designs: a visitor's card by L. M. Lauwerjks, 1911, and a letterhead for the furniture company Mechernich by Adolf Meyer, 1906.

Nadel, Leonard 1916-1990 (American)

Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, 1947-1998 (bulk 1947-1957) (Accession # 2002.M.42)

  • Summary: Consisting primarily of photographic material by Leonard Nadel from 1947 to 1957, the collection records early efforts by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to promote integrated public housing for the city's growing multi-ethnic population, and also documents several areas of the city that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) had targeted for commercial revitalization. Nadel's black-and-white negatives, contact prints and two unpublished photographic books form the bulk of the collection, supplemented by handwritten notes and related documents.Series I consists primarily of material that Nadel produced while working for HACLA, and on related urban development, public housing, and slum documentation projects. In addition to documentation of Los Angeles public housing projects such as Avalon Gardens, Ramona Gardens, and Basilone Homes, there are photographic surveys, sometimes block by block, of the city's slums and historic areas targeted for demolition and revitalization, including the Civic Center area, Bunker Hill, Elysian Park, and Chávez Ravine. Several of these projects were championed by or carried out under the auspices of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). There are photographs of the planning meetings of city officials and architects (including Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, and Lloyd Wright), urban redevelopment commission tours, hearings, and conferences. Also included are a few photographs of slums in New York, as well as a small amount of material related to Frank Wilkinson, the assistant director of HACLA, who was fired from the organization in 1953 after refusing to disclose his political affiliations to the California Anti-Subversive Committee, a copy of the The 8th, 9th, and 10th consolidated annual report of the Housing Authority of Los Angeles illustrated with photographs by Nadel and other HACLA photographers, and a copy of And ten thousand more, the 1949 University of Southern California student film produced for HACLA.Series II contains Nadel's photographic materials and notes on Pueblo del Rio and Aliso Village, his largest photographic projects of the late 1940s. He documented Pueblo del Rio in 1947 and 1948, and then went on to photograph Aliso Village in 1948 and 1949. Also included are the two large leather-bound volumes he compiled based on this material. Through photographs and text, these books tell in detail the stories of the two housing projects, focusing not just on the architecture and layout of the complexes, but also recording the family lives and project-supported social networks of the tenants. In 1949 he made a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City to meet with supporters and potential publishers for his book Aliso Village, U.S.A. The related correspondence and Nadel's meeting notes are included in this series. Although there was interest in these photographic projects, the books were never published. 

Leonard Nadel photographs for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, 1948-1997, undated (Accession # 2002.M.42, I A)

  • Summary: Comprising Series I.A. of the Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, this subseries primarily consists of negatives, contact prints, annotated envelopes and notes produced by Nadel as a documentary photographer for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). From aerial and panoramic views to close-range shots, Nadel documented not only the physical environment and buildings, but also their inhabitants. A good portion of the material focuses on individual families or tenants, affording a very personal portrait of slum and project life. In addition to documentation of public housing projects such as Avalon Gardens, Ramona Gardens, Basilone Homes, and the unrealized Elysian Park Heights project, the subseries also contains extensive documentation of slums, particularly near downtown Los Angeles. Among the other HACLA-related material is a copy of There's Nothing Sentimental About Your Cash Register, which consolidates HACLA's 8th, 9th, and 10th annual reports with accompanying photographs, and a copy of And Ten Thousand More, the 1949 University of Southern California student film produced for HACLA (available on-site only by searching for the title in Primo Search). Also included is a small amount of material related to Frank Wilkinson, planning meetings of city officials and architects (including Richard Neutra, Robert Alexander, and Lloyd Wright), tours, hearings, and conferences. See Series II for Nadel's extensive documentation of the Pueblo del Rio and Aliso Village projects.

Leonard Nadel photographs of Pueblo del Rio, 1947-1948, 1947-1948 (Accession # 2002.M.42, II A)

  • Summary: Comprising Series II.A. of the Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, this subseries consists of Nadel's unpublished book, "Pueblo del Rio: The Study of a Planned Community," and additional photographic material related to the project. Originally built in 1940 for African-American defense industry workers, Pueblo del Rio is a housing development located at 52nd Street and Long Beach Avenue in South Central Los Angeles. The mid-century modernist project was designed by the Southeast Housing Architects, which included Richard Neutra, Gordon Kaufman, Adrian Wilson, and the firm of Wurdeman & Becket. The chief architect on the project was Paul R. Williams, Los Angeles's first successful African-American architect, known as the "architect to the stars" for the many private residences he designed for the Hollywood elite. Nadel began documenting Pueblo del Rio while a student at the Art Center College of Design. In the late 1940s he showed some of the photographs to Frank Wilkinson, who encouraged him to continue his documentation, and later hired him as a photographer for HACLA.

Leonard Nadel photographs of Community Redevelopment Agency projects, 1948-1998, 1948-1998, undated (Accession # 2002.M.42, I B)

  • Summary: Comprising Series I.B. of the Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, this subseries contains Nadel's photographic documentation of several areas of Los Angeles that the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) targeted for commercial revitalization in the 1940s and 1950s, such as Bunker Hill, the Temple Street area, Ann Street, and the Alameda Street area. He made meticulous photographic surveys, sometimes block by block, of the slums and historic areas targeted for demolition and redevelopment. Documentation of the Bunker Hill Renewal Project is particularly extensive. Also included is documentation of an Urban Redevelopment Commission tour. In addition to black-and-white negatives and contact prints, materials also include Nadel's original, annotated negative envelopes and handwritten notes.

Leonard Nadel photographs of Aliso Village, 1948-1994, bulk 1948-1949, Bulk, 1948-1949 (Accession # 2002.M.42, II.B)

  • Summary: Comprising Series II.B. of the Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, this subseries consists of Nadel's unpublished book, "Aliso Village, USA," and additional material related to the project. Designed in 1942 by the Housing Group Architects, lead by Ralph Flewelling and including Lloyd Wright, the garden city-style Aliso Village was one of the first racially integrated public housing projects in the United States. It was built in the Boyle Heights area known as "The Flats," which in the 1930s was one of the most impoverished areas of Los Angeles. Aliso Village was demolished in 1999 and replaced by a new housing project, Pueblo del Sol.Nadel documented Aliso Village from 1948 to 1949. The book he assembled is a photographic study of four families - Asian, African-American, Caucasian, and Latino - living in this historic community. Between 1949 and 1951 Nadel made a concerted effort to find a publisher for the book. In 1949 he made a trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City to meet with supporters and potential publishers. In addition to meeting with representatives from organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Council on Race Relations, he also met with photographers Edward Steichen and Roy Stryker, who assessed his photographs. The related correspondence and Nadel's meeting notes are included in this subseries. Although there was interest in the project at the time, the book was never published.

Leonard Nadel photographs of various subjects, undated, undated (Accession # 2002.M.42, I C)

  • Summary: Comprising Series I.C. of the Leonard Nadel photographs and other material relating to housing and urban redevelopment in Los Angeles, this subseries encompasses a variety of topics and subject matter that relate to public housing. The photographs were most likely made by Nadel during the period when he worked for the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and documented projects of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), but for which a specific project has not been identified.

Shulman, Julius 1910-2009 (American architectural photographer)

Julius Shulman photography archive, 1935-2009. (Accession # 2004.R.10)

  • Arrangement: Organized in five series: Series I. Indices, journals and calendars; Series II. Architects; Series III. Projects; Series IV. Job numbers; Series V. Display photographs.
  • Summary: Collection contains over 260,000 negatives, vintage and modern prints, transparencies, and related printed matter documenting the modern movement in architecture in Southern California from the 1930s through early 2000s, including the Case Study Houses.Series II contains images of designs by well-known architects and designers, primarily modernist architects of Southern California, arranged alphabetically by architect, then by job number and format. Series III comprises photography done by Shulman for special projects: the Case Study Houses and courtyard apartment buildings in Los Angeles for the book Courtyard housing in Los Angeles. Photography arranged by job number within these two subseries. Series IV contains photography of architecture and design that does not fit into the other series, arranged by job number and format. Series V contains display photographs, typically duplicates of photographs found elsewhere in the archive enlarged for display.
  • Notes: The bulk of the archive has been digitized and is available online. Series II and Series III were digitized in 2010 with support from ARTstor. Series IV was digitized in 2012-2013 with support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).Credit line: © J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

University of Southern California collection of Julius Shulman photographs and drawings, 1943-1952. (Accession # 2011.R.2)

  • Arrangement: Arranged in order of Shulman's job numbers with unidentified materials at the end.
  • Summary: This group of 291 photographs, primarily by Julius Shulman, complements the larger Julius Shulman photography archive (2004.R.10). The vintage photographic prints in this collection are sometimes of images for which only contact prints or negatives exist in the larger archive. The collection also includes a small number of architectural drawings and photographic prints by unidentified photographers or architects.

Swann, Wim 1927-1995 (South African)

Wim Swaan photograph collection, 1951-1995. (Accession # 96.P.21)

  • Summary: Comprehensive collection of photographs by a self-taught photographer and practicing architect who traveled widely and published many large-format books devoted to the art and architecture of ancient and disappearing cultures. Most images, taken in situ, reflect Swaan's interest in facades, architectural details and decoration. Strong topical concentrations include Gothic, Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance Europe, Islamic Spain, Turkey, Egypt and Iran, Ancient Egypt and Greece, Asia, including India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, Cambodia and Sri Lanka, Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin America; and the landscape of the American West. Series I consists of a nearly complete set of photographs for each of Swaan's 18 publications, four killed projects and one under consideration, arranged chronologically by publication date, 1963-1995. Series II contains images of geographical regions not published by Swaan in book format, arranged by campaign in rough chronological order, 1951-1995 (bulk 1988-1995). Series III includes correspondence, invoices, permission requests, notes and the original copy of Swaan's two volume thesis, dating from 1958 to 1995.

Stoedtner, Franz 1870-1946 (Germany)

Lantern slides of early 20th century avant-garde architecture. (Accession # 92.R.21)

  • Summary: These lantern slides from the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in Massachusetts document, for the most part, architectural projects from the Bauhaus at Dessau, particularly buildings by Walter Gropius (20 slides) and several labeled "Gropius & [Adolf] Meyer." Other architects with work represented include Le Corbusier (11), Otto Bartning (4), and J. J. P. Oud (3). The slides feature institutional, residential and industrial structures, including government, university, and office buildings, worker housing, a Dutch trolley, and an airship hangar at Orly (Paris). Photos are of completed projects, buildings under construction, plans, and renderings. A notable rendering is the combined Lenin monument and museum by Lazlo Peri in the form of a hammer and sickle.

Teske, Edmund 1911-1996 (American photographer)

Images of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. (Accession # 2004.R.3)

  • Summary: Nineteen photographic prints documenting the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, taken by Edmund Teske. The photographs were printed by Teske himself, mainly in the late 1970s. Fourteen images depict interior and exterior views of Wright's buildings and surrounding landscapes, including Taliesin East, Taliesin West, Hollyhock House, and Barnsdall Studio Residence B, which no longer exists. Also included are five photographs of a cover proposal for a special edition of the Frank Lloyd Wright Newsletter dedicated to the photography of Teske at Taliesin East and West (1936-1942). These photos demonstrate in five steps the solarization process developed by Teske.

Photographs of buildings and activities at Taliesin East, Taliesin West, and Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Los Angeles and elsewhere. (Accession # 96.R.9)

  • Summary: The photographs document the architecture and social events at Taliesin East and Taliesin West; the Frank Lloyd Wright fellowship in the 1930s and 1940s; and Wright's Hollyhock house, including Studio Residence B, in Los Angeles.Other photographs record the Schwartz house, the Manson house, the Pew house (all 1939 Wisconsin), and the Lloyd Lewis house (1940 Libertyville Ill.).

Walsh, C. Gregory 1930-  (American)

Photographs of buildings by Los Angeles architects. (Accession # 2010.R.8)

  • Summary: The photographs, primarily of mid-twentieth century Los Angeles area domestic architecture, were taken by C. Gregory Walsh while he was a student at the USC School of Architecture. Many of the photographs show buildings of recent construction, as evidenced by minimal landscaping and the lack of surrounding homes. Architects represented include Richard Neutra, John Lautner, A. Quincy Jones, Craig Ellwood, Gregory Ain, and Lloyd Wright. There are photographs of the Jones and Whitney R. Smith designed houses in the Crestwood Hills community. Also included are photographs of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that Walsh took on a trip to the Chicago area and Wisconsin.