SAH & UVA Press launch Open Access Archipedia


Michele Racioppi


Docomomo US staff


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A newly designed, open-access edition of SAH Archipedia is now freely available to the public.

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) and University of Virginia Press (UVA Press) have launched a new open-access, mobile-friendly edition of SAH Archipedia, an authoritative online encyclopedia of the built environment of the United States. The newly redesigned site brings peer-reviewed scholarship to a worldwide audience of researchers, students, teachers, preservation advocates, cultural tourists, and anyone interested in learning more about the architectural history of the U.S. (and there are plenty of Modern sites for our Docomomo followers).

SAH Archipedia contains histories, photographs and maps for over 20,000 structures and places, and showcases the richness and diversity of architecture and landscapes throughout the U.S. “This isn’t just a powerful content management system, it is a true authoring platform that has the potential to foster new forms of scholarly collaboration and makes it easier to create curated collections of entries, such as the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright or automobile service stations or showrooms,” said SAH Editor Gabrielle Esperdy. 

SAH Archipedia originally launched in 2012 with 8,500 building entries and content drawn from the Society’s Buildings of the United States (BUS) books, an award-winning series of volumes on U.S. architecture compiled and written on a state-by-state basis. Histories and thematic essays from all the published BUS print volumes have been included in SAH Archipedia, which continues to grow with the addition of new peer-reviewed born-digital content and as new BUS volumes are completed. SAH Archipedia reached a milestone in 2017 with content representing all 50 states. In addition to building entries, SAH Archipedia includes place-based and thematic essays, comprised of peer-reviewed scholarship contributed by architectural historians nationwide, and lesson plans designed for K-12 educators. In the coming years, SAH plans to expand the scope of the project to include global content.

 SAH Executive Director Pauline Saliga stated, “We are greatly indebted to the hundreds of BUS and SAH Archipedia contributors—scholars, architects, preservationists and students—whose original research and writing are the foundation of SAH Archipedia. In addition, without the expertise of editors, peer reviewers and software technologists, a publication of this complexity and authoritative voice would not have been possible. We are pleased to launch the mobile-friendly edition of SAH Archipedia open access, for the benefit of all who share a passion for the history of the built environment.”

Development of SAH Archipedia has been made possible by lead support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency, as well as major gifts from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ongoing support is provided by the Society of Architectural Historians, its members, University of Virginia Press, foundations and individuals.