Coen Beeker Collection

Coen Beeker Collection

Part of


  • Coen Beeker (archive creator)
  • African Architecture Matters (archive creator)


Coen Beeker Collection

Dates of creation



  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • 1.95 l.m. of textual records
  • 764 photographic materials
  • 124 postcards
  • 90 maps
  • 1 videocassette

Scope and Content

The Coen Beeker collection documents Beeker's activities as an urban and rural planner in Africa. It contains documents related to Beeker's urban planning projects in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Sudan. The majority of the material is related to a restructuring project for spontaneous neighbourhoods in the City of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, between the 1970s and early 2000s. The collection also includes documents related to a similar project for the City of Bobo-Dioulasso (1989-1993), an urban planning project for Port-Sudan in Sudan (ca. 1988) and a development project for the Debre Zeit area in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1991-2004). The Coen Beeker collection contains mostly textual documents, such as administrative documents, maps, and a collection of postcards that depict African architecture.

The Coen Beeker collection also includes approximately 50 publications, which have been transferred to the library to facilitate description and access. They can be found and requested for consultation on the CCA website using the search term "Coen Beeker collection." These publications reflect Beeker’s interest in urban and regional planning in Africa, with an emphasis on Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. The books range from the early 1970s to the late 1990s and are in English, French, and Dutch.

Reference Number



The Coen Beeker collection is arranged in two series: CD035.S1 and CD035.S2.

Series CD035.S1 documents four of Coen Beeker’s urban planning projects in Africa: Restructuring of spontaneous neighbourhoods, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (1979-2005) (CD035.S1.1979.PR01); Restructuring of a suburban area, Port Sudan, Sudan (ca. 1988) (CD035.S1.1988.PR01); Restructuring of spontaneous neighbourhoods, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso (1989-1993) (CD035.S1.1989.PR01); and Urban field development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1991-2004) (CD035.S1.1991.PR01).

Series CD035.S2 documents Coen Beeker’s reference slides on urbanism in Africa ordered alphabetically by country.

Biographical notes

Coen Beeker is a Dutch urban planner who worked on urban redevelopment in Africa between 1968 and 2005. He worked mainly in Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Sudan, and Ethiopia. He has a degree in social geography and a master in rural and urban planning from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU University Amsterdam). Beeker taught at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam between 1977 and 1984. He began his work in Africa through a collaboration program between local governments in Africa and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam financed by the Netherlands government. During his work as an urban planner in Africa, he developed a planning methodology primarily concerned with the involvement of local communities in planning decisions and site work management with less interference from non-local parties.

Conditions governing access

  • Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

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

Custodial history

The Coen Beeker collection remained in Beeker’s custody until it was donated in 2010 to ArchiAfrika, a foundation based in the Netherlands. ArchiAfrika acquired the Coen Beeker material, along with two other collections: the Georg Lippsmeier Collection and the Kiran Mukerji Collection. With these acquisitions ArchiAfrika wanted to build a research collection, accessible to scholars and researchers, on African and tropical architecture and urbanism. Not long after, ArchiAfrika moved the base of their activities to Accra, Ghana, but the three collections remained in the Netherlands. The custody of the three collections was transferred to African Architecture Matters (AAM), a non-governmental organization with consultating projects in Africa, but their purpose remained the same. The Coen Beeker collection, the Georg Lippsmeier collection and the Kiran Mukerji collection were acquired by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) from AAM in March 2016. The material was transferred in the fall of 2016. An addition to the Coen Beeker collection was made in December 2017 by AAM.

Archivist's note

  • The collection materials were processed and described by Catherine Jacob in fall 2017. The collection guide was created in collaboration with Devon Lemire who catalogued the publications from the Coen Beeker Collection.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the following citation:
Coen Beeker Collection
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal;
Gift of African Architecture Matters
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.

Language of material

Dutch, French, German, English

Related units of description

  • A list of the periodicals from Coen Beeker collection can be found here: http://hip.cca.qc.ca/biblio/Horizon/inventaires/BIB248188---R301987.htm The list only includesperiodicals kept in the library. For monographs researchers should use the keyword search on the CCA website using the search term "Coen Beeker collection."
  • An interview of Coen Beeker with Antoni Folkers, founding member of ArchiAfrika and donor of the collection, and Martien de Vletter, CCA Head of Collection, is held by the CCA's Library (BIB 253607). Also, an interview of Antoni Folkers and Belinda van Buiten, also founding member of ArchiAfrika, is held by the CCA's Library (BIB 253608).

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