Amancio Williams fonds
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The Amancio Williams fonds documents Williams’ career as an architect and designer from the 1940s to the late 1980s. The fonds documents his work for over 80 architectural, urban planning and design projects, as well as the administration of his architecture practice and his professional activities. The projects, mostly in Argentina, consists of private residences, hospitals, churches, airports, office buildings, industrial buildings, public spaces, monuments, furniture and objects, as well as his work on urban development. The material related to his projects includes drawings and sketches, presentation models, photographic materials, such as photographs of models, finished project (when realized), reference images, photographic reproduction of plans, and site photographs. It also includes textual records such as financial documents, correspondence with clients, consultants, and collaborators, notes, proposals, specifications, project descriptions, and reference materials. The fonds also includes drawings created by Williams during his studies, mainly during his university years.
The fonds also contains material pertaining to Amancio Williams’ writings, including published work, such as his texts on archeological discoveries in Quebrada del Toro “Un descubrimiento arqueológico en la Quebrada del Toro,” and his tribute to Le Corbusier “Homenaje a Le Corbusier.” This material includes draft version of texts, selection of the images added to some of the publications, reference and research materials, and correspondence related to the writing of these essays or their publishing. The fonds also records various exhibitions on Williams’ work, mostly designed or curated by others, and some exhibitions either designed or curated by Williams himself on the work of other architects or artists. This includes correspondence, ephemera, project descriptions, exhibitions texts and exhibition design documents.
Lastly, the fonds documents the administration of Williams’ architectural practice and his professional activities outside of design work. This includes promotional materials such as publications and audiovisual recordings of interview with Williams or on his work. Some of these promotional materials were added later to the fonds by Williams’ children as they were created after his death. There is also his correspondence over the years of his practice with collaborators, and clients or potential clients, government representatives, as well as some personal correspondence with friends and family members. Williams’ network of contacts and friends is also documented through a collection of photographic materials of Williams at various events or gatherings. The fonds also contains honours received by Williams for his architectural career or his involvement art and architectural associations.
The title, Amancio Williams fonds was given during processing based on the primary records create or and compiler. Some researchers, who had accessed the archive prior to its arrival at CCA, have been suggested that the fonds should be titled the Amancio Williams and Delfina Gálvez de Williams fonds, as Delfina was very much a partner in Amancio’s architectural practice. Delfina is mentioned as a collaborator on some of the projects and is present on photographs of built projects taken for promotional purpose, but few records explicitly created or collection by her were identified during processing. It was also decided to only identify Amancio’s name in the fonds title, as material does not only pertain to his career as an architect, but also as an exhibition curator, a writer, and various other professional activities apart from his practice. It is felt that Delfina Gálvez de Williams’ own records might show a different perspective of their practice.
The Amancio Williams fonds is divided in seven series:
AP205.S1 Planning, architecture and design work
AP205.S4 Student work
AP205.S5 Office records
AP205.S6 Professional activities
AP205.S7 Management of "Archivo Amancio Williams" by Amancio Williams' children
Upon arrival at the CCA, records were essentially organised by formats and by activity. The drawings and the larger material were stored flat in folders. The textual records, smaller drawings, and folded reprographic copies were kept in storage boxes, as well as some of the photographic and audiovisual materials. Most of the photographic materials were kept in binders. The original order of the material has been kept throughout the series. After Williams’ death, the archive was managed by his children. Some parts of the archives appear to have been physically organised and rehoused by them. During processing, notes to that effect were added in the file-level descriptions where it might have been the case.
Amancio Williams was born February 19th, 1913, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied engineering and then architecture at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, where he graduated in 1941. His first designs were mostly for private residences, including the Casa sobre el arroyo, in Mar del Plata, commissioned by his father, the chamber music composer Alberto Williams. Throughout his career, Williams worked on various architectural projects such as monuments, residential buildings, office and industrial buildings, interior designs, furniture and object designs, and urban development projects. In 1941, Williams marries Delfina Gálvez Bunge (who then takes the name Delfina Gálvez de Williams). Delfina Gálvez de Williams, also trained as an architect at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, worked on many projects in collaboration with Williams. She was also involved in helping him promote their work, managing the practice, as well as translating texts or writing correspondence. Together they had eight children, including Claudio Williams who will later be managing the archives of Williams’ practice.
In the second half of the 1940s, Amancio Williams submitted design proposals for two projects for the Argentinian government: the new international airport and the design for three hospitals for the province of Corrientes. Neither of these projects were realised. In 1949, Williams worked with Le Corbusier to supervise the construction of a private residence, Casa Curutchet, in La Plata. From the mid-1940s to the early 1950s, Williams studied acoustics in the form of a concert hall project, Sala para el espectáculo plástico y el sonido en el espacio. He was later invited to present it at La Sorbonne. From 1951 to 1955, his work was featured in an exhibition organized by Walter Gropius, then Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he was also invited as a guest lecturer. Around this time, Williams also worked on the design of Una nueva boveda cascara, a “hollow vault,” that consisted of a reinforced concrete pillar structure that could drain water and be used as support for a building. He would go on to use this structure in many other projects and it would become something of a signature of his designs, including in his project La ciudad que necesita la humanidad. The project consisted of a linear and closed city to be built 30 metres from the ground to reduce land use. In 1962, Williams became an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and was inducted in the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Argentina in 1982. He died on October 14th, 1989.
Most of Amancio Williams' career was marked by an unstable political context in Argentina. Populist governments or those gaining power through electoral fraud were often overthrown by military coups, sometimes leading to dictatorship. During Williams’ lifetime, the country had six military coups: the first in 1930 and the last in 1976.  While still under dictatorship, Argentina entered the Falkland Island war over the Islas Malvinas with the United Kingdom in 1982, which led to the fall of the last military junta in 1983 and to the election of a democratic government. 
 Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_coups_in_Argentina#:~:text=In%20Argentina%2C%20there%20were%20six,of%20a%20bureaucratic%2Dauthoritarian%20state (last accessed Octobre 13, 2023)
 Human Right Watch report “Relectant Partner : The Argentine Government's Failure to Back Trials of Human Rights Violators”, Volume 13, Issue 5, December 2001, https://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/argentina/argen1201-02.htm#P130_28947 (last accessed Octobre 13, 2023)
The Amancio Williams fonds was acquired by the CCA in 2018. It arrived at the CCA in four transfers in 2020 and 2021.
Before its transfer to the CCA, the archive was kept at the offices of the company Lece Construcciones S.A., owned by Claudio Williams, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After Amancio Williams’ death the material was kept and managed by Williams’ children, who also added some materials related to articles and publication on Williams or events held as a tribute to him and his work. The archive was accessible at the time through Williams’s family who created a non-profit organisation known as “Archivo Amancio Willams” to preserve the documents created by Amancio Williams during his career, to manage the archives and to give access to it. Material from this organisation was also added to the archives.
Some of the material related to a selection of projects by Williams were digitized in an effort to create a digital library of the Amancio Williams archive and add it to the “Archivo Amancio Williams” website (www.amanciowilliams.com). This project was undertaken in collaboration with Monoambiente Gallery and its director Martín Huberman.
Amancio Williams fonds
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal;
Don des enfants d'Amancio Williams/
Gift of the children of Amancio Williams
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