Pittsburgh Architecture:
A Guide to Research

Compiled by Martin Aurand
Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives

Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

NOTE: This Guide is not being updated.
It includes useful information but may be outdated in many aspects.


The built environment of the Pittsburgh region is the prototypical urban American industrial landscape, overlaid with an architecture of strength, variety, and invention. This environment has been decried by some and championed by others; but it has been largely ignored by students of architecture, and is only beginning to receive appreciation and serious study. Much work remains to be done.

This guide is intended to promote and facilitate architectural research in Pittsburgh and its region by introducing the researcher to methods and resources key to the research process. No guide can supply a universally applicable description of the process of architectural research. Every researcher has a different starting point and a different goal. However, a guide can offer direction, and it can provide information about the sometimes arcane tools of research, which may be of use to researchers of all stripes -- from scholars writing books or dissertations, to students working on class projects, to property owners researching the histories of their homes.

Architectural research is a sometimes complex but rewarding process, akin to assembling a puzzle, or doing detective work. Use this guide to identify resources that may have information about your topic. Contact each repository before you visit to learn about their hours and policies, and to identify the type of information that you will have to supply (e.g. address, date, etc.) in order to access their records. Do visit -- only you can spot and pursue every lead. And ask questions -- persistence will often pay off.

Research Tips