Architectural projects

Architectural projects

Part of


  • Alvaro Siza (archive creator)


Architectural projects

Dates of creation


Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • Approximately 71,575 drawings (including 51,581 reprographic copies)
  • Approximately 26,160 photographic materials
  • 235 models
  • 39 maps
  • 20.19 l.m. of textual records
  • 3 artefacts
  • 1 sketchbook

Scope and Content

Series AP178.S1 is the largest series of the Álvaro Siza fonds and documents over 200 of Siza’s built and unbuilt architectural projects. The series is divided into project series which are arranged chronologically by project year. Presently, materials in this series range from 1958-2012. The CCA will also receive materials documenting Siza’s more recent work in future additions. Documenting the projects are conceptual, design, presentation, and working drawings, as well as photographic materials, textual documentation, and models. Although the drawings for each project have been identified, Siza often sketches or doodles on textual documentation, such as minutes of meetings or notes. When possible, folders that include textual documents with sketches or doodles have been identified. Amounts and types of materials vary from project to project. Project documentation is usually in Portuguese, with some exceptions including French, English, German, and Dutch.

Most project series include sketches, studies, and working drawings. Other drawings included are site plans, floor plans, topographic surveys, elevations, sections, as well as technical and mechanical details. Also documenting the projects are photographic materials and textual documentation, such as correspondence, building programs, contracts, notes, and other working details. Photographic materials found within this archive are slides, negatives, photomontages and photographs of project sites and models.The photomontages were often used to study the function of the project site. To fully understand Siza’s methodology, sketchbooks (Series AP178.S2) should be viewed alongside the project drawings, when possible. Each project series description highlights sketchbooks in series AP178.S2 which contain related sketches. It is important to note that not all projects are represented in the sketchbooks in Series AP178.S2. Moreover, project series descriptions only list related sketchbooks when sketches have been positively identified as related to the corresponding project.

The Siza fonds will be processed in four phases. The materials processed in the first, second, and third phases are architectural projects from the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s; urban planning projects; Reconstrução do Chiado; Berlin projects submitted to the IBA competition; cultural institutions; individual houses; and the Plano de urbanização Deelgebied 5 Schilderswijk-West in The Hague. Among The Hague and the Berlin projects are the Punt en Komma social housing, Bonjour Tristesse, and the Residential settlement in Schilderswijk.

This series is better understood in the context of how the records for architectural projects were arranged by Siza’s office. Earlier projects were initially numbered by Siza’s office and then received new project numbers by the office archivist, who joined the office in the 1990s. Project files have been kept in the order in which they were received by the CCA, which is how they were arranged by the office archivist. The project numbers and dates assigned by Siza’s office archivist are included in the descriptions for each project and form the basis for the arrangement of this series.

The office archivist numbered projects consecutively by decade, for instance, 58/80 was the 58th project during the 1980s. Numbers which were included in square brackets, ex. [14]/75, show that the project was not a ‘full’ project and contains a small amount of documentation. When projects are followed by a letter (A, B, C) this signifies a project is connected to the first. When the project number is followed by a number (1, 2, 3) this signifies a separate building within a larger project. For the purposes of arrangement, project numbers that were assigned a letter or number are arranged as sub-series of the related project series. Exceptions to this numbering convention are projects 23/60, 25/60, 28/60, 33/60, 34/60 and 35/60. These projects were not in the office’s original project list and were not officially considered projects. The office archivist assembled documentation related to these projects and assigned them numbers.

In the early 2000s a large number of photographic materials were gathered together by the office archivist from various correspondence files for a digitization project initiated by the office. These materials remained housed together as a photograph collection in the office. Not all of these materials were digitized by the office. Those that were digitized were assigned numbers which have been identified in the file descriptions. It is important to note that several photographic materials were left with the textual documentation or drawings. When this is the case they are identified in the file description. There are also several panoramic photomontages which were created by either gluing or taping several photographs together to make panoramas of project sites.

Reference Number



Material in this series was arranged by Álvaro Siza’s office and has been kept in this order.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
Álvaro Siza 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

Portuguese, English, Dutch, German, Italian, French


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