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Research & Scholarship

Addressing the Needs of the Comprehensive Design Studio

January 19th, 2017 by Barbara Opar

The introduction to the syllabus for Architecture 409: Integrative Building Design Studio states “ARC 409 aspires to address the deployment of building systems, materials and processes in ways that express a coherent set of values and objectives achieved through architecture and its effects, as well as optimally perform their technically measurable tasks.” As such, this class requires a deeper understanding of technical resources and Syracuse University Libraries is committed to making the necessary tools available in print or online. But the Libraries’ architecture resources are diverse and growing, so students may not have used them all. However, during the course of this studio, faculty will be suggesting a range of resources from the essential like the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals to new additions like CSI MASTERSPEC. Those teaching or studying engineering will also find many of these database resources helpful.

Here are the recommended databases. Some are full-text; some like the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals have limited full-text but direct you through SULinks to specific journal content. Only use of CSI MASTERSPEC is restricted to campus.

Applied Science & Technology Full Text  is the most general technology index and an important tool for ARC 409 as it addresses building systems, processes and materials. It provides full-text content and in-depth indexing and abstracts from leading trade and industrial journals, professional and technical society journals, specialized subject periodicals, buyers guides, directories and conference proceedings. This index is does not routinely profile the work of specific architects or masterworks- for that, use the Avery. However, Applied Science provides specialized information on smart materials and includes articles on façade design and processes like harvesting rainwater. This part of the database begins in 1983; the earlier retrospective database begins in 1913.

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals  (CORE-but Not full-text) remains the best all- around architectural database. It focuses on architects, specific projects, and building type, making it the essential starting point for research. The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals indexes more than 2,000 periodicals published worldwide on archaeology, city planning, interior design, and historic preservation, as well as architecture. Coverage is from the 1930’s (with selective coverage dating back to the 1860’s) to the present. The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals is updated daily. Use SULinks to locate SUL holdings. Most backsets of the architecture journals are on the 4th floor of Bird Library. Certain titles may be off site but can be requested. Use InterLibrary Loan to obtain copies of the resources not available in SUL.

Birkhauser Building Types Database provides online version of the Birkhauser manuals and access to works on architecture design, including building plans and photos, and articles, covering 2002-2016. The content comes ONLY from Birkhauser publications which have been digitized and indexed. Content includes building information, a brief bibliography, drawings and plans.

MASTERSPEC allows the user to produce product specifications. This tool currently is on campus access only and can be accessed on the three public workstations in the ARR as well as the Slocum computer labs. Once you have logged in, launch Word and enable content.



DETAIL Inspiration is a subscription database featuring online access to over 3000 projects from the all print versions of Detail, including the German/English/French edition, the newer English edition and Detail Green. This resource provides access to the most popular features of the journal issues with photographs and drawings. The publisher did not obtain rights to publish certain content so this database is not a total duplication of the print journals.

MADCAD is a subscription based, online reference database that contains cross-referenced collections of building, electrical, mechanical, plumbing, fire, and maintenance codes. Syracuse University Libraries subscription provides full-text of the current International and New York State codes. In November 2016, NY State adopted the 2015 ICC Codes with state amendments. Unlike the previous code cycle, there is no integrated state code. It is the 2015 ICC Codes with state amendments. 2015 ICC Codes are already available in the SUL account. Supplements are added to MADCAD free of charge so the 2016 Uniform Code Supplement and 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code are included on the site. As of February 2016, Wiley notified MADCAD that they will no longer be offering AGS through The Residential, interior and landscape graphic standards remain on the site. SUL has increased the number of concurrent users to 15 for the ICC and NYS materials from February 1 to May 1.

Material Connexion provides a quick global view of the latest innovative and often cutting edge materials. Designed to serve the design disciplines broadly, Material Connexion offers easy keyword searching options. Users can locate detailed information about specific products and manufacturers. Material Connexion highlights products that defy conventional notions of strength, weight, and density. Sustainable products are emphasized.

SU ARR Materials Collection includes samples that circulate for one day. Requests for new materials are encouraged.

ULI Development Case Studies provides access to more than 300 detailed case studies of completed projects ranging from low-income housing to mixed-use downtown developments to commercial and industrial projects. The case studies provide photographs and site plans, information on costs and rents, innovative features and strategies of the project, and an explanation of the entire development process. It covers projects from 1985 to the present. Thirty new case studies are added every year.

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