We see our collection as a repository of ideas, provocations, inspirations, and trials and errors. Made up of both archival holdings and the output of our activities, our collection is both a base of materials for research and a body against which new readings and contexts are tested.

Our collection documents the culture and production of architecture worldwide from the Renaissance through the present day. It is made up of five interrelated bodies of primary and secondary materials: archival holdings; prints and drawings; photography; artefacts and printed ephemera, audiovisual and digital materials; and library collections.

Born-digital material has become an important focus of our collecting and preservation work as we increasingly acquire projects and/or archives from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s, when digital tools were shaping both the theorization and production of architecture. Documentation on our processing manual for born-digital material and our access interface tool can be found on our github account.

In September 2020, the CCA began a Critical Cataloguing initiative (or a process of reparative description) to address issues of injustice and exclusion embedded in the descriptions of objects held in our collection. A group of CCA archivists, librarians, and curators is currently reviewing biased, inappropriate, and harmful descriptions and classifications in the Photography collection. The goal is to develop inclusive description and metadata strategies that will improve discoverability of histories, narratives, and contexts that would otherwise not appear in object records.

In 2021 and 2023, we invited a group of scholars to study a selection of our Renaissance holdings during a week-long residency. Their findings are used to update and enhance the descriptions of the works, but the scholars also talk to us, and explain why we should take a closer look at these drawings and what we can discover in them.

If you are searching for a specific author, work, or keyword, please use our search tool. To learn more about our archival collection, please consult our finding aids. If you would like to consult objects in Montréal or request a reproduction or a loan, please check our collection access and use FAQ.

Filippo Romano, photograph from the artist’s book Uncollected at CCA, PH2015:005:045, Canadian Centre for Architecture, gift of the artist.


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