Melvin Charney fonds

Melvin Charney fonds

Part of


  • Melvin Charney (creator)
  • Melvin Charney (archive creator)


Melvin Charney fonds

Dates of creation



  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • 8.21 l.m. of textual records
  • 9115 photographic materials
  • 6651 drawings (including 1723 reprographic copies)
  • 184 digital files (724.4 MB)
  • 435 ephemera
  • 37 notebooks
  • 24 serials
  • 18 sketchbooks
  • 13 books
  • 7 artefacts
  • 4 models
  • 3 artworks
  • 2 maps

Scope and Content

The fonds documents the professional activities of artist/architect Melvin Charney. It includes elements from his primary and post-secondary education, his early career collaborating with established architecture firms in the northeastern United States, Paris, and Montréal, as well as a multitude of art and architecture projects spanning six decades. The fonds also covers his activities as an educator at Université de Montréal, his research and publications, his exhibitions (both group and solo), awards and honours, as well as Melvin Charney’s activities in professional associations and societies.

The fonds contains a considerable amount of textual records, architectural drawings, photographic materials, some models, and a small number of artefacts related to his projects. Textual records consist largely of correspondence, drafts of publications, media coverage and publications, memoranda, notes, and reference and teaching materials. Architectural drawings include conceptual, development, working, and presentation drawings, both in original and reprodured forms. Photographic materials cover largely professional activities, with some personal, family, and travel included as well.

Reference Number



The material in the Melvin Charney fonds is arranged in six series:

AP041.S1 Projects

AP041.S2 Teaching

AP041.S3 Exhibitions

AP041.S4 Publications

AP041.S5 Office documentation

AP041.S6 Professional papers and other materials

Biographical notes

Melvin Charney was born in Montréal in 1935. He studied architecture at McGill University (1952-58) and at Yale University (1959). Working as architect, sculptor, artist and photographer Charney has built site-specific installations in Canadian, American and European cities and monumental structures for permanent public spaces, such as the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights in Ottawa, the Canadian Centre for Architecture Garden in Montréal, and Place Berri, also in Montréal. As an artist and photographer he has had his work presented in international contemporary art events such as the Venice Biennial and Documenta in Kasel, as well as in numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums around the world. Charney has also been active as a teacher, at the Université de Montréal, and architectural theorist.

He received the Prix du Québec Paul-Émile Borduas in the visual arts in 1996, the Chevalier de l'Ordre national du Québec in 2003 and the Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government in 2006. He died in 2012 in Montréal.

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • For copyright information or permission to reproduce material from the fonds, please contact the CCA (reproductions@cca.qc.ca)

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • The Melvin Charney fonds was initially donated to the CCA by Melvin Charney and later additions by Dara Alexandra Charney and Ann Charney.

Custodial history

The first accessions of the Melvin Charney fonds were acquired between 1990 and 1993 by the CCA from Melvin Charney and consists of drawings of his project for the garden of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. From 2001 to 2007, additions to the materials were made either by donations or purchased by the CCA from Dana Alexandra Charney. The material acquired from 1990 to 2007 consists mainly of drawings for various projects and was initially processed in the Prints & Drawings collection.

A larger donation by Dana Alexandra Charney in 2012 led to the creation of the Melvin Charney fonds. All the materials acquired from previous accessions were then transfered and processed in the Archives collection. Other additions to the fonds were made by Dana Alexandra Charney and Ann Charney in the following years until the last donation received by the CCA in 2019.

Archivist's note

  • Drawings from the Melvin Charney fonds were acquired before 2012 in the Prints & Drawings collection, were processed by Howard Shubert, Curator, Prints and Drawings, and other cataloguers. The bulk of the archives from later additions was processed by Archival Assistant, Talia Olshefsky, in 2013. Slides from the archives were processed by practium Master student in Information Studies from McGill University, Brian Meagher, in 2015. Further processing of the Melvin Charney fonds was done by Archival Assistant, Sarah Robinson, in 2015. The finding aid and the records were updated in 2020-2021 by Archivist, Catherine Jacob as part of a database migration project. This work included modifying the arrangement, updating descriptions to match current descriptive standards and adding missing information. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the following citation:
Melvin Charney fonds
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.

Language of material

English, French, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean


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