Mission and History

Detroit parking lot (photo by David Schalliol)


The Society of Architectural Historians is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national, and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the history of the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national, and international programs.

Watch our videos to learn more.


As the world’s built environment rapidly changes, SAH provides leadership to ensure that knowledge and understanding about architecture, landscapes, and planning form the foundation for assessing new design solutions and conserving the world’s cultural heritage. The Society aims to equip the public to think critically about the central role that architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism play in the quality of everyday life.

Founded at Harvard University in 1940, SAH has a distinguished history of providing services for teaching and design professionals and institutions that educate the public about the history of the built environment. In addition, SAH has always welcomed individuals of every profession who simply enjoy learning about the history of architecture, landscapes, and urbanism.

Currently SAH has more than 2,400 individual members and nearly 600 institutional members in 63 countries. For much of its history, the Society’s services revolved around four core activities:
In addition to those core services, in recent years SAH has developed several innovative online archives designed to disseminate research about the built environment more widely, including:
  • SAH Archipedia, a multimedia online encyclopedia of American architecture
  • SAHARA, a shared online archive of architecture images for teaching and research
  • JSAH Online presents the same text content as the print journal, but with an expanded illustration program that includes video, sound, 3-D models, panoramic photos, and zoomable images.
In addition to its print and digital communications, the Society also promotes experiential learning by organizing international Field Seminars, Study Days, and lectures at its landmark headquarters, Charnley-Persky House



The Society of Architectural Historians is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity.
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Copyright - (c) 2012