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Subject Guide: Architecture and Design

Archival and library highlights found at the Center relating to architecture, fashion, and other related design fields.

ORT needle trades training [c.1950s] (RG 380, YIVO)

Architecture and Design at the Center for Jewish History

This LibGuide was created to draw attention to various archival collections and books from each of the Center's five partner institutions that represent the historical achievements in architecture, design, and fashion by Jewish visionaries throughout history. If you are interested in a collection or library item you do not see highlighted in this guide, please visit, where you can search by keyword, name, title, subject or call number. 

Please feel free to email if you have any additional questions about the breadth of books, archival collections, and multimedia housed at the Center. 

Design In Its Many Forms

Design is a part of every person’s daily activities. Most of us wake up inside a building which was designed by an architect or builder. Our morning rituals often include interactions with bed linens, personal products, kitchen dishes and utensils, and clothing, all simply or elaborately designed and selected by us to complement our personal style, mood and use. It’s possible to study how all aspects of design affect our lives, but I would like to compare architecture and fashion as I believe that have an equal impact on our lives.


Design disciplines all share similarities, such as:

Quality of construction

Although it’s not always apparent at first glance, most people can tell the difference between a poorly sewn garment and one that will stand up to wear when trying on clothing. The same is true if two identical houses were built side by side, but one consisted of construction shortcuts which would cause deterioration of the building materials while the other was carefully and thoroughly assembled.


A log cabin would have a completely different feel if it were constructed out of glass and aluminum. An elegant evening gown would also create a completely different image if it were sewn with  checked gingham similar to a square dance skirt instead of soft silk.

Process of design

In both disciplines, there is a process of schematic design, design development and construction documents. They consist of sketches, editing and creating a set of instructions for others to carry out. For architecture students, having them work on a sewing project may give them an insight into how important details can be for construction documents. Since clothing is an everyday part of our lives, it may be more familiar to them than the process of constructing an entire building.


Nelson, B. (2011, August 12). An Introduction into the Similarities of Architecture and Fashion Design. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from

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