Born out of the need to focus on concerns specifically related to architectural records, a number of members from the Visual Materials Section formed an SAA roundtable group in the summer of 1990. The Architectural Records Roundtable (ARR) worked to establish best practices regarding the management, description, and preservation of architectural records.

In 1991, the ARR began holding workshops for other members, taught by Tawny Ryan Nelb and Waverly Lowell. The April 1996 edition of the American Archivist was a special issue with articles focusing on architecture, many of which were born out of the Working Conference on Establishing Principles for the Appraisal and Selection of Architectural Records held in April 1994 at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, Canada. In 2006, Nelb and Lowell published Architectural Records: Managing Design and Construction Records.  


In 2017, the Architectural Records Roundtable became an official SAA Section and in 2018, the group voted to change the name to the Design Records Section in accordance with the new regulations for naming of SAA component groups and to reflect the wider scope of the section.

DRS archives are housed as a series within the records of the Society of American Archivists records located in the Archives Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Division of Archives and Special Collections.  The online finding aid is located at: http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/arch/findaids/uwmmss172/roundtables.html