The Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives collects, conserves and promotes the use of architectural records that document the architects and architecture of Carnegie Mellon University, the city of Pittsburgh, and its region. Settlement, industrialization, urbanization, and redevelopment have each left a profound imprint on the regional built environment. Regional architecture bears 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 document an irretrievable past (for buildings demolished or left unbuilt), facilitate the preservation and reuse of extant buildings, and inform our understanding of our surroundings.
The Architecture Archives' collections document thousands of projects and the work of hundreds of designers. Records have been obtained from architects and firms, architects' families, property owners and governments. The Architecture Archives collects preliminary or schematic sketches, construction drawings and blueprints, presentation renderings, files of contracts, specifications and other papers, photographs, and selected architectural models. The Architecture Archives also collects sketchbooks, marketing brochures, and other ephemera.
At the Architecture Archives, records are conserved, stored, cataloged and made available for use by Carnegie Mellon students and faculty, scholarly researchers, and the general public. The Architecture Archives can provide crucial sets of drawings for building rehabilitation projects, and primary research 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.
History of the Architecture Archives
The Architecture Archives was founded in 1984 by Fine Arts Librarian Henry Pisciotta and Professor Richard Cleary as a collaborative project of Carnegie Mellon's University Libraries and School of Architecture. The Architecture Archives was organized around three collections already held by the university: the Henry Hornbostel Collection, the Frederick G. Scheibler, Jr., Collection, and the Peter Berndtson Collection. The University Libraries subsequently assumed sole responsiblity for the Architecture Archives. Martin Aurand was archivist from 1986-2020.