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The Architecture subject guide provides some basic tips on how to find books, articles and images related to architecture.

Browser's Guide to Architecture

Browsing can be a fine way to get a sense of how much is available, to make interesting discoveries, and simply to relax.  However, it is usually not a very effective way to find a specific book, article, or picture. 

Please always ask at a library reference desk or use the online Ask-A-Librarian service if you need help locating what you need.

As with most American libraries, Penn State organizes books and bound volumes of magazines by the Library of Congress Classification System. The medium is an important part of the organization.  Architecture-related materials are classed primarily in the NA section of the library. Other relevant call number ranges: TH (building and construction), NK (interior architecture and design), E-F (U.S. history, historic preservation), HT (city planning), etc.  

The table below contain locations within Architecture & Landscape Library at the University Park campus, but the call numbering and categories are also useful at any Penn State library location.  There are also exceptions to the UP locations, so again, ASK if you can not find what you need.


Several times a semester we add a list of new or noteworthy books on a particular theme to our Digital Bookshelf page.

Browser's Guide to Architecture - details

NOTE:  The focus of the collection of the Architecture & Landscape Architecture Library is from 1850 to the present. Most of the books on pre-1850 architecture will be located in Pattee Stacks, Levels 1A & 2.

Architectural History by era
Topic Classification Numbers
Architectural History - General Works NA200-202
Ancient Architecture NA210-340
Ancient Egypt NA215-216
Ancient Persia NA225-226
Classical, General works NA260
Ancient Greece NA270-290
Ancient Italy NA295-340
Medieval NA350-489
Early Christian NA360s
Byzantine NA370s
Islamic NA380s
Romanesque NA390-405
Gothic NA440-489
Renaissance NA510-565
Baroque & Rococo NA590
18th Century NA627-640
19th Century NA645-679
20th Century NA680-684
21st Century NA685-689


Architectural Design Principles
Topic Classification Numbers
Architectural Design - general principles NA2750
Composition & Proportion NA2760
Space Planning NA2765


Architectural Drawing and Presentation
Topic Classification Numbers
Architectural Sketchbooks NA2600-2635
Architectural Drawings NA2700-2749
Architectural Drawing (Technique) NA2707-NA2708
Digital Drawings & Rendering NA2728
Rendering in Color, Pen & Ink NA2780
Presentation Models & Modeling NA2790
Drawing (Art Technique) NC730-758
Sketching & Sketching Landscapes NC795
Landscape Architectural Drawings SB472.47
Landscape Architectural Digital Drawings & Rendering SB475.9.D37


Professional Practice
Topic Classification Numbers
Building Codes & Laws K3538-3544
Contracts, Building and Construction KF901-902
Building Codes & Laws KF5701-5709
Examination & Licensing of Architects (United States) NA123
Architecture as a Profession NA1995
Business Management for Architects NA1996 & NA2570


Study and teaching. Research:  NA2000-2320
Topic Classification Numbers
Study and teaching. Research - General NA2000-2005
Study and teaching. Research - by Country NA2100-2285
Architecture Schools NA2300-2320
Architecture Schools - United States NA2300
Architecture Schools - Other American NA2305
Architecture Schools - Europe NA2310
Architecture Schools - Other countries NA2320


Architectural Theory, Philosophy, Essays, Aesthetics, etc.
Topic Classification Numbers
Theory, Philosophy, Aesthetics, etc. NA2500
Theory & Treatises, early works to 1800 NA2515
Theory & Treatises, 1800 to present NA2520
Essays and Works for general readers NA2570
Criticism NA 2599.5-2599.9


Buildings grouped by materials
Topic Classification Numbers
Materials, General Works NA4100
Wood NA4110
Masonry, General works NA4119
Brick and tile NA4120
Concrete  NA4125
Stone  NA4130
Metal NA4133-4138
Glass NA4140
Other materials, A-Z  NA4145


Buildings grouped by use
Topic Classification Numbers
Schools & Educational Buildings LB3201-3325; see also NA6590-6610
Government Buildings. National, State & Municipal NA4195-4589
Religious Buildings, by religion, building type NA4590-5095
Religious Buildings. Non-Christian NA4610-4780
Religious Buildings. Christian NA4790--5095
Religious Buildings, by country NA5200-6113
Mausoleums, Cemeteries Monuments NA6115-6199
Commercial Buildings NA6210-6280
Stores, Shops, Shopping Centers NA6218-6227
Office Buildings, Skyscrapers, Tall buildings. NA6230-6234
Banks NA6240-6245
Transportation and storage buildings NA6290-6370
Industrial Architecture. Factories, mills, etc. NA6400-6589
Schools & Educational Buildings NA6590-6610; see also LB3201-3325
Museums, Exhibition Buildings NA6690-6750
Research Buildings. Laboratories. NA6751
Auditoriums. Theaters. NA6815-6846
Stadiums NA6860-6862
Houses, Domestic Architecture, Dwellings NA7100-7785
Houses, Domestic Architecture by Country NA7201-7477
Hotels, Inns NA7800-7850
Restaurants, Clubs, Bars NA7851-7859
Apartment Buildings NA7860-7863
Hospital and Health Facilities Design RA967
Library Design Z679