KOL/MAC project records

KOL/MAC project records

Part of


  • KOL/MAC (archive creator)
  • KOL/MAC (architectural firm)
  • Sulan Kolatan (architect)
  • William MacDonald (architect)


KOL/MAC project records

Dates of creation



  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • approximately 5100 digital files (19.6 GB)
  • 36 drawings
  • 3 material samples
  • 2 Hi-8 tapes
  • 1 Jaz drive (2GB)
  • 1 Zip disk (96 MB)
  • 0.32 l.m. of textual material

Scope and Content

The KOL/MAC project records, 1994-2001, document the conceptualization and design of two projects: the Ost/Kuttner Apartment and Housings. It also documents the construction of the O/K Apartment.

The records consist of physical drawings, textual records, Hi-8 cassette tapes, and material samples, as well as a substantial body of digital materials. These primarily document the design, construction and installation of the O/K Apartment and Housings through drawings, 3D models, photographs, still images, construction documentation, and material samples.

Reference Number


Physical Description

The Zip and Jaz disks in this archive were created and used with Classic OS-era Macintosh computers and are formatted using Hierarchical File System (HFS). Resource forks were largely retained throughout the collection and are recognizable by their file titles, which begin with “._” These files can be ignored on Windows computers, but may provide some additional functionality on Macs. Disk images of the media were also retained, given the eventual possibility of accessing files in their original software environment with the use of emulators. This fonds contains a number of born-digital files in CAD and 3D modeling formats. Due to the complex and often proprietary nature of CAD formats, proper rendering and use of these files may require highly specific software. CCA’s dedicated Study Room CAD workstation is loaded with a wide but incomplete range of such software. For further information about services and software available, please contact Collection Reference (ref@cca.qc.ca) and ask to speak with the Digital Archivist.


This fonds is arranged into two series:

Series 1, Housings

Series 2, O/K Apartment

Administrative history

KOL/MAC is an architecture and design firm that is based in New York City and operates internationally. The firm was founded by principal Sulan Kolatan and director William MacDonald in 1988, after the pair began collaborating out of Columbia University’s paperless architecture studio.

KOL/MAC works as a distributed office with project-based teams located locally and globally. The firm is known for its innovative use of digital design tools, taking on a wide scope of projects, including architectural interiors, large-scale urban redevelopment, furniture design, virtual environments, and material prototyping.

Major projects include: Ost/Kuttner Apartment (New York, 1996), Housings (1999), and the Resi/Rise Skyscraper (1999).

Work by KOL/MAC has been exhibited in a number of museums, including the Georges Pompidou, Paris (“Architecture non standard” and permanent collection); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (“The Un-Private House”), and the Deutsches Architektur Museum, Frankfurt (permanent collection). Kolatan and MacDonald were on the list of architecture’s “40 under 40” by Interiors in 1995; the firm was also featured at the Venice Biennale International Exhibition in 2004.

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • KOL/MAC retains copyright to these materials. Reproductions of the material must be approved by KOL/MAC prior to publication. For further information, please contact the CCA (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Gift of KOL/MAC on 10 May 2016.

Custodial history

The physical materials and digital storage media in this fonds were stored at KOL/MAC’s office in New York prior to their transfer to CCA. These records were acquired by CCA as part of the Archaeology of the Digital project. Selected items were displayed in the show Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention, May-October 2016.

Archivist's note

  • A single-level record for this archive was created by Digital Archivist Tessa Walsh in July 2016. Processing and description was completed by Digital Processing Archivist Stefana Breitwieser from October 2017 – January 2018.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
KOL/MAC project records,
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


Related units of description

  • As part of the Archeology of the Digital series of exhibitions, interviews were conducted with the related architects and published in an ePub format: Lynn, Greg. Archeology of the Digital 14: Sulan Kolatan, William MacDonald, and Greg Lynn discuss O/K Apartment. Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2016. Additional resources at CCA include: Bunn, Austin. “A Living Blob.” The New York Times Magazine. Published 18 May 2003.

General note

  • In order to access the digital material, some initial pre-processing was necessary. The Jaz and Zip disks were disk imaged in order to begin surveying the material. One disk (ARCH273111) had a large number of corrupted sectors and was not readable. The disks contained a number of StuffIt files, which were opened using The Unarchiver for Mac. A small number of errors occurred during this process. A number of viruses were also removed at this time. File names were sanitized using detox in the command line. Detox identified a number of additional files and directories that it was unable to sanitize in ARCH 273118 and ARCH273119; these were changed manually and with detox iteratively until all the names were computer readable with typical characters. In order to make the files more accessible to contemporary computers, file extensions were added by the command line utility addext based on format identification. Empty files and directories were deleted through the command line. See the collection documentation for more detailed information regarding Stuff It errors, deleted viruses, changed file and directory names, and deleted empty files and directories. A rough sort was then conducted to group different projects, assess arrangement, and determine possible weeding. Further archival decision-making was conducted on a series-level. See series description for more information.

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