The Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library (POVAL)

This is a unique multi-disciplinary collection of books dealing with vernacular architecture worldwide. Collected over a period of more than 50 years by Professor Paul Oliver, it includes works by architects, geographers, architectural and art historians, planners, folklorists, archaeologists, conservationists and anthropologists. The books cover a wide range of topics, including the philosophy and theory of vernacular architecture, building symbolism and decoration, and vernacular materials and technology. Also included are a large number of anthropological works dealing with the building traditions of specific peoples and cultures.

The POVAL collection, which provides an unparalleled and indispensable repository of the knowledge gained about the vernacular traditions of the world up to the present, and as such serves as a basis for further scholarship, is currently housed in the rolling stack on the Level 2 of Oxford Brookes University Headington Library, and is accessible to staff, students and visiting scholars for reference, as a Special Collection.

We will photocopy book chapters subject to copyright and/or conservation considerations: read more about the photocopy service.

You may search the catalogue of the Collection by using the search box below, which links to the Catalogue of Oxford Brookes University Library.

Search the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library catalogue:


For further information, please contact:

Dan Croft
University Library
Oxford Brookes University
Gipsy Lane
Oxford OX3 0BP
Tel: 44-(0)1865 485072


To search the book collections, use the Library catalogue.

To search the archive collections, use the Archive catalogue.

Named collections A-Z


Headington Library - Level 2