In building design practice, especially in the preliminary stages, multi-disciplinarity is often ignored, due to the intrinsic characteristics of the design process, the features of design education, or lack of appropriate tools, resulting in a limited design vocabulary. This paper investigates the development of a digital multi-media database of building structures, operating as a supporting tool in preliminary structural design in order to enrich and justify design decisions. The proposed database responds to the need of bridging the gap between systematic, yet abstract, theoretical analytical approach of structural systems and descriptive, visual, yet fragmented, representations of architectural forms, through a highly visual, yet thoroughly systematic, approach based on case-studies.