Architecture and Ornamental Engravings Collection

The Kunstbibliothek presides over and maintains one of the most important collections of material relating to European architecture, comprising more than 50,000 drawings, prints, and architectural models. These range from the late 15th century to the second half of the 20th. Its holdings of German, French and Italian architectural sketches from the Baroque and Neoclassical eras are particularly extensive, with masterpieces by figures such as Francisco Borromini, Filippo Juvarra, Balthasar Neumann and Giovanni Battista Piranesi. There are also extensive collections of sketches and materials from the estates of outstanding Modernist architects, such as Erich Mendelsohn, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Peter Behrens, and Heinrich Tessenow  

The Kunstbibliothek’s famous Ornamental Engravings Collection is closely related to these holdings on architectural history. This Collection reflects the entire history of object and spatial design from the Middle Ages right up to the era of Modernism, which viewed ornament as a reactionary form of art. The Collection’s key areas of focus include the art of goldsmithing, landscape architecture and the architecture of fortresses, as well as Baroque ceremonial architecture and stage design, along with the art of fireworks.

The historical roots of the Architecture and Ornamental Engravings Collections can be traced back to the era of the Industrial Revolution, when the Kunstbibliothek was a mere educational arm of the Kunstgewerbemuseum. Its courses were aimed at young, creative people training to work in the booming field of the applied arts, such as architects, but also furniture and industrial designers. Today, these collections continue to be an indispensable resource for researchers in the fields of art history and cultural studies, and serve as an inexhaustible reservoir of ideas for anybody who wants to be inspired by the design concepts of previous centuries.

The objects from the Collection can be viewed in the Study Room. Prior registration is required.


The digital database only provides access to sections of the Architecture and Ornamental Engravings Collections. If you cannot find certain objects on there, get in touch with the Kunstbibliothek by telephone or email.

Contact for Requesting Items from the Collections

Phone: +49 30 266424101
E-Mail: kb[at]