The architecture collection

In the architecture collection you will find photographs, models and drawings of architecture, in addition to business archives and sketchbooks.

Architectural drawings on a table

Photo: Thomas Søndergaard

The focus of the architecture collection is architecture as cultural heritage with documentation of buildings and the architects who designed the buildings.

The collection's historical anchoring in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts means that since the foundation of the academy in 1754, large amounts of material from teaching have been included in the collection. These include measurements, exercises in perspective, tasks carried out in the various classes and on study trips in addition to several graduation projects.

The materials can only be seen at the Study Hall in Søborg. Book an appointment before you visit us.

The Danish part of the collection of architectural photographs has been digitised and can be found in the digital collections. This applies to both the topographic sub-collection and the architects' own.

There is a special focus on Danish architecture in the period from the 1860s to the end of the 20th century. The library owns a large collection of photographs taken by the country's best architectural photographers, including Strüwing, Kjeld Helmer-Petersen and Jonals Co. We have also received extensive collections of photographs and slides from Danish architects.

The scope of the collection is very extensive and contains thousands of photographs and slides. The Danish architectural photography collection is arranged by architect and/or topographically with a fairly high degree of accuracy. The foreign topographic part on a slightly less thorough level. You must expect to put in a certain amount of work if you want to orientate yourself in these.

A special collection of rare older recordings (ra photo) from the 1850s and 1860s, mainly from abroad, can be studied in more detail in the form of backup copies. The originals are very sensitive to light and are only taken out upon justified request.

Architectural photographs are of great value as documentation material, but can also be an independent form of art. The collections contain photographs in both categories. As a user, you must expect to clarify copyright issues with the photographers and their descendants if you wish to use the photographs.

Architectural models are searched via the library system.

As the physical models are for the most part fragile and difficult to handle, it is not immediately possible to see most of them. In order to make them available anyway, a large part of them have been photographed in high resolution and can be found in the digital collections.

There are 300 architectural models in the collection, mainly Danish. The oldest are two models of C.F. Harsdorff from the late 18th century, one of which is a proposal for the Marble Church, made by joiner Jens Brøtterup. The majority of the models are from the second half of the 20th century by architects such as Arne Jacobsen, Henning Larsen, Mogens Lassen, KHR, Dissing + Weitling, Knud Munk, Erik Christian Sørensen or Karen and Ebbe Clemmensen, to name just a few.

Architectural models often visualise a building better than drawings. They have often been included in exhibitions at Danish and foreign museums, but can also be produced for the client or as a working model for the design studio's own use.

You will find the architectural drawings in the library system. You can search by both architect name and topography. The drawings can be ordered and viewed at the Study Hall in Søborg.

A large number of the drawings have been scanned and reproduced in a high resolution via digital collections. As a general rule, these cannot be ordered for use in the reading room, as they have just been digitised to protect the originals.

The drawings cannot be borrowed, but you can order scans or photographs of them.

The collection consists of approximately 350,000 architectural drawings. We collect drawings from Danish architects, drawings for constructed buildings, measurements of domestic and foreign architecture, school drawings and travel sketches.

Business archives can be searched via the library system. The material must be viewed at the Study Hall in Søborg.

The library has received large archives of case files, letters, records and scrapbooks from individual architects. Best represented are a number of architects from the 20th century, such as Ivar Bentsen, Kaare Klint, Kaj Gottlob, Kay Fisker, C. Th. Sørensen, Inger & Johannes Exner.

The archives are often of inestimable importance when preparing monographs on the architects in question or wanting precise details about a single building. As the archives are not recorded in detail, you can often expect to have to set aside some time to go through the material in them.

You search for the sketchbooks in the library system. Search by architect's name and the subject word 'Sketchbook' (in Danish "skitsebog").

A significant number of sketchbooks have been scanned and reproduced in high resolution and can be found in the digital collections.

The library has a collection of approximately 300 sketchbooks with drawings and watercolours made by architects during study trips both at home and abroad. The main emphasis is on the period from the beginning of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The material shows how especially young, newly qualified Danish architects documented and got inspiration from their travel impressions in Germany and the countries north of the Mediterranean, Greece, Italy, France and Spain, in addition to Denmark.

The sketchbooks, which only rarely contain actual text sections, document the architects' travel routes and destinations through accurate markings. They show which types of buildings, building ornaments and other building decoration, in addition to monuments and works of art, had their particular interest.

The sketchbooks reveal the individual architects' sources of inspiration, which can often be read directly in their later production. They also inform in a broader sense about the taste of a given period, and indirectly they tell about travel routes and early tourism in Europe. They document the well-developed drawing skills that were a result of the teaching at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and which enabled the architects to reproduce the scene with great precision.