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Architecture: Precedents/Case Studies

Resources in support of first-degree and graduate studio programs in architecture

Find Precedents Here

Clemson Libraries Catalog

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

BuildingGreen Suite

[what it is, how to use it]

Urban Land Institute Case Studies Database

[what it is, how to use it]

US Green Building Council

Find Precedents: Search by Building Type x Historical Period

[TIP:  Building Types Online is an excellent resource for identifying precedents.]

For any precedent study, historical and typological contexts matter! Monographs and book-length surveys are the most useful resources for establishing a building's meaning and significance. Look for these in the library catalog:

EXAMPLE: In the catalog, use AND to focus a building type search by historical period. For more focused search, use an additional search box.

IN FIRST SEARCH BOX:  (religious OR church* OR sacred) AND architecture


IN SECOND SEARCH BOX:  modern OR contemporary OR 20th-century OR 21st-century

TIP: Search by subject headings, rather than keywords. Combine with AND/OR, as needed, for best coverage and focus:

     Choose one: Church buildings OR Religious architecture -- either one of these is a subject heading applied by catalogers

     Combine with: Architecture, Modern -- 20th century
                      OR Architecture, Modern -- 21st century

What Makes a Building an Appropriate Precedent?

A building doesn't have to be of the same building type or materials or period to serve as an appropriate precedent. You determine what qualifies as a precedent based upon what facets of a building drive your design goals or inspire your thinking.

Precedent-worthiness can be based on a single facet, or a combination of facets :

Building type/function: residence, museum, church, retail store, hotel, sports facility, performance venue, office building, school, pavilion, warehouse, industrial building, conference center, etc.

Structural method/system

Building materials

Historical period

Location/context: urban vs. suburban vs. rural, mountains vs. seaside, desert vs. tropical vs. temperate; etc.

Clientele: public vs. private, individual vs. family vs. multiple tenants vs. institution, special interests

Sensory/experiential factors: Use of space, light, view, transitions, variations, etc.

Relation to site: underground or earth-sheltered, slab/platform/podium, on infill/pilings, highrise, floating, treehouse, etc.