February 2017

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Beverly Willis Library


The conference room of the Beverly Willis Library

The Beverly Willis Library is a multi-purpose resource center that supports the Museum’s commitment to research and scholarship in the building arts. Named in honor of founding trustee and pioneering architect Beverly A. Willis, FAIA, the newly renovated space includes a library, study center, and conference room. Located on the fourth floor of the Museum, the library houses a broad array of research materials and also serves as home to the Museum’s fellows and interns. 

The Beverly Willis Library boasts:

  • State-of-the art technology for multimedia presentation and teleconferences;
  • 1,233 linear feet of library and archival storage space;
  • Access to the electronic archives of Beverly A. Willis, FAIA;
  • Attractive and flexible conference meeting space;
  • Comfortable and private research space; and
  • Use of sustainable design products.

The library collection includes written materials on the built environment that have been donated or acquired to support the mission and work of the Museum. It also contains records from previous Museum exhibitions dating back to its origins. 

The library is used by Museum staff, visiting scholars, and professionals for research purposes and academic and curatorial meetings. It is also a resource for Museum patrons to use for special events, small conferences, and meetings.

Interested in accessing the library’s collection? Please contact library@nbm.org for more information.

Reserve the library for your next event.

Beverly A. Willis, FAIA


Beverly A. Willis, FAIA

Beverly Willis is a founding trustee of the Museum, and the library's name honors her legacy and work on behalf of the institution. Willis began her prolific architectural career in 1958 and eventually led the 35-person firm Willis and Associates, Inc. Architects. Among her significant buildings are the San Francisco Ballet Building in the city’s civic center (1984); the Nob Hill Court Apartments (San Francisco, 1973); and Union Street Shops, a pioneering historic adaptive reuse project (San Francisco, 1964). In the 1970’s, Ms. Willis served as President of the California Council of American Institute of Architects, the first woman to hold the position, and as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Conference on Habitat I. 


In 2002, Ms. Willis founded the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation to advance the status and scholarship of women practitioners in the architecture professions. Among the notable programs of the Foundation is an annual lecture program held at the National Building Museum called Women of Architecture, which focuses on the professional and personal accomplishments of women in the field.



Construction on the Beverly Willis Library

The renovation of the library began in the fall of 2006, supported by an initial grant from the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation. STUDIOS Architecture formed a team of architects, interior designers, contractors, engineers, and historians to re-imagine and transform the existing library in the Museum. Working from those plans, the dedicated support of Grunley Construction helped make the 1,899 square foot room a reality, bringing the project to completion. The Beverly Willis Library was officially opened on March 10, 2008. 


The library serves as a living testament to Beverley Willis’s professional achievements as an architect, her commitment to the building arts, and her ongoing advocacy for women in the field. The renovation would not have been possible without the vision and generosity of Beverly A. Willis, FAIA; STUDIOS Architecture; Grunley Construction; and the many generous supporters listed below.


 Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation  Grunley Construction  STUDIOS Architecture


Aurora Storage Products
Ennis Electric Company
John H. Hampshire, Inc.


Wanda Bubriski
Carnegie Fabrics
Knoll, Inc.
Frederick A. Kober
Lees Carpet
National Fire Protection
Sorg and Associates, P.C.


Mark Architectural Lighting
NLP Enterprises
Park Carpet/Tyson's Floors
Benjamin Whitcomb

Design Partner

EHT Traceries, Inc.
GHT Limited
RAND Construction Corporation
The SK&A Group