Canadian Competitions Catalogue reaches 5,000-project milestone

The Canadian Competitions Catalogue (CCC), a free online public resource, reached a major milestone in February 2019. More than 5,000 projects, documenting over 180 competitions, are now digitally archived in the CCC.

To illustrate the current extent of the archive, imagine you wanted to review all the projects in one sitting and dedicated only five minutes per project: it would take you three weeks to browse through the entire database.

CCC, Canadian Competitions Catalogue
A map of competitions across Canada. Image via CCC.

The Canadian Competitions Catalogue is the digital and bilingual repository for architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture competitions in Canada. A non-profit endeavour, the CCC was created in 2002 by researchers at the LEAP (Laboratoire d’étude de l’architecture potentielle: in order to facilitate comparative studies on contemporary architecture.

In 2006, the CCC became accessible online, gradually becoming a true collective public resource with only a handful of equivalents worldwide. This vast library of projects currently lists 425 competitions, with half of these already documented. This corresponds to nearly 46,000 documents for projects imagined and/or realized in Canada since 1905.

The CCC is regularly updated. However, the collaboration of professional firms and competition organizers across the country is required for more frequent updates. The CCC earned national recognition from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in 2012, with a substantial grant to revamp its database system.

The CCC is built on the premise that every project—even those not built—should be considered as both a source of knowledge and ideas. Each design project seeks to construct the present and anticipate the future, while reflecting on the past. The spotlight projected upon the winner of a competition is perhaps what blinds us from seeing that the non-winning schemes are not merely the leftovers of a selection process, but rather “potential architectures” with an important role in the edification of cultures and societies. Having been submitted to the challenge and rigour of a collective and qualitative judgment process, each project can be read as a manifesto for the excellence of spaces and places, as they seek a better way of redefining our living environments

The CCC needs your timely collaboration for improved updating. If you are aware of any missing competition, or if you have access to archives pertaining to competitions in Canada (digitized or not), please contact Professor Jean-Pierre Chupin, PhD, Architect MOAQ, MIRAC at:

Further reading:

  • J.-P. Chupin, C. Cucuzzella, B. Helal (Editors), Architecture Competitions and the Production of Culture, Quality and Knowledge (An International Inquiry), Montreal, Potential Architecture Books, 2015.  ISBN 978-0-9921317-0-8
  • J.-P. Chupin, (Editor), Competing for Excellence in Architecture (Editorials from the Canadian Competitions Catalogue, 2006 – 2016), Montreal, Potential Architecture Books, 2017.

ISBN 978-0-9921317-5-3