Doing Research

The Environmental Design Archives (EDA) is committed to raising awareness of the significant architectural and landscape heritage of Northern California through collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary records of the built environment.














Architect or Landscape Architect

All EDA collections are organized by the creators of the records such as architect, landscape architect, firm, designer, or photographer. To do research or find a project, the name of the records creator is one of the essential pieces of information we need in order for us to be able to tell you whether we have relevant material for your research.


Original Client or Project Title

Within each collection materials for a particular project are organized not by address or location BUT BY CLIENT OR PROJECT NAME. Client name can be an individual (Daniel Gregory), corporate entity (Eichler Homes), or organization (U.S. Farm Security Administration). Project titles also vary from the name of a theater, office building or hospital.

Address is not an organizing factor due to several reasons: (1) often the address is simply not listed on plans (in some cases if the house was built in a new subdivision in which addresses had not yet been assigned), (2) addresses changes over time, (3) matters of the privacy of the current homeowner.

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The majority of collection material is NOT digitized or online to view, however, there are several different ways of accessing collection descriptions and content online:

Collections Page
  • lists our collections by category (architects, landscape architects, architectural photographers). If you click on a collection it will take you to a collection information page that will provide a picture of the architect or landscape architect and an example of their work, a brief biography and description of the collection contents.  It will also take to you a project index (please note: not all collections have a project index). (see below)
Project Indexes
  • are excel spreadsheets which list all the projects by a particular architect or landscape architect that we have at the Archives. These lists are organized by original client’s name and provide location, date, and type of project. The project index also indicates the type of materials (photographs, drawings, manuscript material, etc.) that we have for each project. If a collection has a project index, the link to it can be found at the top of the collection page.

Finding Aids
  • Finding Aids for our collections can be found on the Collections Page on our Website or on the Online Archive of California and are key-word searchable (please note: not all collections have finding aids).

  • Finding Aids are comprehensive collection descriptions that provide information on the designer (biographical or organizational history) and the records (scope and content); and present the arrangement (series list) and the content (file list and project index). It is necessary to consult these research tools in order to provide the Reference Archivist with a list of material you would like retrieved for your research visit.
Online Archive of California
  • All of our Finding Aids and selected images from collections can be found on the Online Archive of California. The Online Archive of California is an online portal which provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 institutions (including libraries, special collections, and archives among others).

  • Selected images from the Environmental Design Archives and Visual Resource Center can also be viewed on ARTstor.

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accessing collections

  1. Access to the Environmental Design Archives is by appointment only. The Research Room is open Monday-Thursday, 9:30am to 4:30pm. Reference inquiries are accepted by e-mail ( and phone (510.642.5124). Contact EDA Reference Archivist, for more information or to schedule an appointment. We are located in 280 Wurster Hall. For directions click here.
  2. Supply a list of material you would like pulled for your research visit. Please be reasonable with the amount of material you request, as archival materials are fragile original documents that require careful handling.

  3. For information regarding our reproduction services and general policies please consult Using the Archives.

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