The Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives was created in 1984 to collect, conserve and promote the use of architectural records that document the architects and architecture of Pittsburgh and the tri-state region of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia. The Architecture Archives' collections now document thousands of projects and the work of hundreds of designers.
In Pittsburgh and its vicinity, settlement, industrialization, urbanization and redevelopment have each left a profound imprint on the built environment. The architecture of this region has its own distinctive character, and bears eloquent testimony to the forces that shaped it. But buildings themselves can tell only part of their stories. The particular histories of their conception, design, and construction are contained in the drawings and other documents by which ideas and information have been communicated between clients, architects, and contractors. Such architectural records are increasingly useful—as documentation of an irretrievable past (for buildings demolished or left unbuilt); as data which facilitate the contemporary preservation and reuse of buildings; and as resources that make possible an informed understanding of our surroundings.
The Architecture Archives believes that architectural records are mutually complementary. Whenever possible, they should be preserved in collections that document the full scope of the architectural process. The Archives collects records including preliminary or schematic sketches, construction drawings and blueprints, perspective renderings, extensive files of contracts, specifications and other papers, photographs, and selected architectural models. The Archives also collects sketchbooks, marketing brochures and other ephemera. These records have been obtained from architects and firms, architects' families, property owners and governments.
At the Archives, records are conserved, stored, cataloged and made available for use by Carnegie Mellon students and faculty, scholarly researchers, and the general public. The Archives can provide crucial sets of drawings for building rehabilitation projects, and primary reference materials for books and dissertations. The collections are also available for public exhibition. The Architecture Archives and its collections and projects are supported by the William Arthur Thomas Memorial Fund and the Lucian Caste Fund.