Searching for visual content in architecture and urban design in an online environment can be confusing, even for experienced researchers. Here are some hints to help you get started:
Architecture and building image repositories tend to be both domain-specific and location specific. Take a moment to carefully read the description and scope of the collection before you search to avoid disappointing search results.
Pay attention to language. Visual materials for architecture and urban planning are usually working documents created by private firms or government entities who use specific industry terms to describe items. Learn the language, and be precise with keywords and location information.
General search engines are great at finding specific buildings (example: the Empire State Building); they are less helpful at finding broad topics (examples: modern houses, Art Deco buildings). Use databases for broad searches.
The visual culture of architecture and urbanism is varied. It helps to search with terms that describe the TYPE of image you need (example: map, blueprint, plan, rendering, technical drawing, photograph, presentation drawing, etc.)
Database of images from the collections of the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects, the world's most extensive visual archive devoted to architecture. RIBApix covers world architecture of all periods together with related subjects such as interior design, landscape, topography, planning, construction and the decorative arts.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallace Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Digital Collection contains images on fine art, decorative arts, architecture and design history in general. The scope of the Collection is international, covering the arts from prehistory through the contemporary period.