Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. Can a building or other similar place or geographical feature be cited as a source according to CMOS?

A. Anything can be cited. Your cat. Jay Leno’s cars. But there’s no standard bibliographic format for cats or cars—let alone buildings or mountains or the like. Instead, describe the entity in the text or in a note, using as much detail as required to make your point. Then cite the source of any facts or other details that wouldn’t be considered common knowledge:

Construction of the Guangzhou Opera House, designed by Zaha Hadid, was completed in 2010 at a cost of more than $200 million.1

1. Victoria Newhouse, Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls (New York: Monacelli Press, 2012), 194.

If you need a list—for example, of buildings designed by a particular firm or belonging to a certain style or otherwise sharing common features that are relevant to your reason for writing about them—then create one. Listing under the name of the architect or firm would be one approach:

Zaha Hadid Architects. Guangzhou Opera House. Guangzhou, China. Completed in 2010.

Add other details as relevant to your study, and otherwise adjust as needed. But make this a separate list; don’t hide such info in a bibliography, where readers are apt to miss it among books and other cited documents.