Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Collection (POVAL)

The Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library collection comprises 20,793 images taken by Professor Paul Oliver over a period of more than 50 years.

Paul Oliver (1927) is an art historian who graduated from the University of London in 1955. During a career spanning five decades he has taught at various institutions, including the Architectural Association, Dartington College of Arts and Oxford Brookes University, and has written and edited a large number of books on vernacular architecture, most notably the monumental Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World (1997, Cambridge University Press).
From the early 1960s onwards Paul Oliver has documented and studied architectural traditions in many parts of the world. During his career, he visited more than 70 countries in six continents and undertook extensive periods of fieldwork in a range of countries, including the USA, Ghana, Turkey and Costa Rica. Other countries, such as France and Spain, he visited regularly for shorter periods of time.

From his earliest travels onwards, Oliver has taken photographs of the architecture he visited. The Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library images provide a unique visual record of buildings, landscapes, architectural details and materials from all over the world. They are singular in terms of their geographic, diachronic and subject coverage and constitute an invaluable record of architecture in all continents.
For more details on the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library please visit or email


No results available