Alvaro Siza donates architectural archive to the Canadian Centre for Architecture

Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, recipient of the Pritzker Prize,has donated a large part of his architectural archive to the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal (CCA). In a recent statement, Siza announced his decision to place the material in the care of the CCA in order to foster discussion and dialogue in a research-oriented context. As one of the world’s foremost international architecture collections, the CCA offers a unique environment dedicated to the study and presentation of architectural thought and practice.

Álvaro Siza’s work can be studied in the context of the international archives of Peter Eisenman, Arthur Erickson, John Hejduk, Gordon Matta-Clark, Cedric Price, Aldo Rossi, James Stirling, as well as Pierre Jeanneret, Abalos & Herreros, Foreign Office Architects, and others housed at the CCA.

CCA Director Mirko Zardini states, “The CCA is thrilled to accept this generous donation. I have known Álvaro Siza and followed his work closely for several decades. His architecture escapes easy classification, but always offers a lesson – a new way of seeing the world around us. His buildings have a distinct character and particular relationship to their urban or natural settings, always born from the desire to participate in the world. Siza’s drawings and sketches reflect his ability to capture the essence of a place through careful observation. No matter in which country he works, the finished buildings are always distinctly of the place as much as they are distinctly his. His vision on architecture and the city generates a new dialogue within the CCA collection.”

In addition to the archive at the CCA, Siza is donating specific project archives to the Fundação de Serralves and Fundação Gulbenkian in Portugal. Siza selected which projects would be held in which location, combining the need for national representation of his work with international access. The three institutions will collaborate on a consistent cataloguing of the material and the sharing of the related research and programming.

Álvaro Siza (born 1933) emerged in the late 1950s at the forefront of developing a new architectural language adapted to the cultural and social context of Portugal. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1992 and the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2012, among many other recognitions. The Siza archive at the CCA comprises projects representing his life-long interest and study of houses, housing, and city planning, as well as designs for cultural centres, museums, and universities throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. The material includes sketches, drawings, study models, as well as related digital files, correspondence and documentary photographs. The CCA is committed to cataloguing and storing the materials and making them accessible to scholarly research.

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