Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library

A wide ranging collection of books on vernacular architecture worldwide.

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 (MBE, HFRIBA, FRAI), 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 Level 2 of Oxford Brookes University Headington Library, as well as in the Special Collections Reading Room. It is accessible to staff, students and visiting scholars for reference, as a Special Collection - a collection of over 20,000 images, taken by Professor Paul Oliver during the course of his career, is held in the POVALi slide collection that is now available to view.

Paul Oliver's personal archive is housed in the Special Collections Reading Room - items are available upon request. Please take a look at the POVAL Archive Findings Aid (PDF) for more information about the contents of the archive. The acquisition of the archive was made possible by the generous support of the Wenner-Gren Foundation

You may search the catalogue of the POVAL collection by using Oxford Brookes University Library's LibrarySearch system.