Peter Eisenman fonds
Part of:
  • Peter Eisenman (creator)
  • Peter Eisenman (archive creator)

Peter Eisenman fonds


1925-2008, predominant 1951-2008

Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • Approximately 43851 drawings (including reprographic copies)
    Approximately 85.57 l.m. of textual records
    Approximately 1250 models
    939 photographic materials
    443 CD-Rs
    59 videocassettes
    34 artefacts
    30 DVDs
    7 sound recordings
    2 moving images
    1 floppy disk
Scope and content:
Fonds documents the personal activities and professional practice of architect Peter Eisenman. It contains papers relating to his studies at the University of Cambridge School of Architecture as well as to architectural and urban planning projects by the successive firms: Peter D. Eisenman, Architect; Eisenman/Robertson Architects; Design Development Resources, Limited Partnership; Esienman/Trott Architects; and Eisenman Architects.

The following projects are particularly well represented in the fonds : Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus, Ohio; House X, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Biocentrum, Frankfurt am Main, West Germany (now Germany); University Art Museum, Long Beach, California; Guardiola House, Cádiz, Spain; Aronoff Center for Design and Art, University of Cincinnati, Ohio; Banyoles Olympic Hotel, Banyoles, Spain; Atoch 123 Hotel, Madrid, Spain; Rebstockpark Master Plan, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio; and Center for the Arts, Emory, University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Fonds also informs us about the publications and exhibitions featuring the work of Eisenman and the successive firms, awards and honours presented to the partners and successive firms; and the partners' involvement with professional associations and other organizations. The fonds also consists of photographic and audiovisual materials created, collected and used by the partners and the successive firms, and of administrative records and other materials relating to office activities, operations and events. Material in this fonds was produced between 1925 and 2007.

Fonds contains a large number of architectural drawings, including conceptual, design development, presentation, publication and working drawings, as well as textual records, photographic materials, several models and a few artefacts relating mostly to architectural projects. Textual records also pertain to various activities by the partners and their successive firms and include correspondence, minutes, reports, financial records, specifications, notes, building programmes, clippings and contracts.
Reference number:


The fonds is arranged in ten series: Student Projects;Other Architects' Projects; Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS); Projects; Publications, Writings, Lectures; Exhibitions; Awards and Honours; Administrative and Office Records; Teaching; and Personal Papers.

There was a previous AP143.S2 series named, Projects for Other Architects, [1951-1978] that was deleted to better reflect the architect's activities. The two project included in this series, AP143.S2.D1, House with Stanley C. Reese, [1951-1978] and AP143.S2.D2, Union Reform Temple, 1958, were relocated in series 4 as AP143.S4.D190, House with Stanley C. Reese, [1951-1978] and AP143.S4.D191, Union Reform Temple, 1958.

What consisted of Series 11, Other Architects' Projects, then became Series 2 to prevent the gap.
Biographical notes:
Newark, New Jersey, 1932 -

Peter Eisenman, architect, theorist, and educator, stands as a principal figure of reference for architectural theory in North America during the last decades. He is also the architect of ambitious and culturally significant projects in Spain, Germany and the United States.

Eisenman earned a B. Arch. at Cornell University in 1955, M. Arch. Columbia University in 1959, and at Cambridge University, where he studied with Colin Rowe, he earned a doctorate in 1963. He joined the architecture faculty of Princeton University in 1963, leaving in 1967 to found the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, IAUS, which, together with the journal Oppositions begun by Eisenman in 1974, became a catalyst for architectural debate.

While directing the IAUS, Eisenman founded his own practice, producing a series of experimental numbered houses. In his designs for these ten houses, he explored the formal potential of the grid by attempting to make visible the mental operations (superposition, rotation etc.) associated with its use, basically generating structure from inside out. Tapping the potential inherent in his own hypotheses, he "artificially" rehearsed the evolution of modern architecture within its own language, which began to interfere and interact with itself. The Berlin Housing Block at Kochstrasse (1980-85), a project significantly called a Museum of Artificial Excavation, connects these seemingly abstract geometries with the coordinates of the site. Eisenman applied his exploration of the grid, "scaling," and layered stratification to other works of the 1980s, such as the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University, Columbus (1983-89), and the Aronoff Center for Design and Art (1988-96).

The concepts explored in these buildings have assumed defining importance in Eisenman's subsequent work and underlie his recent projects, such as the City of Culture at Santiago de Compostela, Spain, which takes its measure from one of Christianity's major pilgrimage sites, and The Berlin Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe (dedicated in 2005), which uniquely reflects on the most devastating chapter in European history. These two projects, together with his stadium for the Arizona Cardinals football team, touch the human conditions of greatest import to Eisenman.

As a keen student of Le Corbusier, Eisenman recognized the value of books and small magazines in disseminating thinking and design in architecture. In 1973, with IAUS colleagues, he began the journal Oppositions, which introduced such writers as Manfredo Tafuri to the United States. Oppositions is now recognized as having played a definitive role in the emerging theorization of architecture in the US after 1970. Founded by Eisenman in the 1990s, The Anyone Corporation, a think tank organized to engage debate about the cultural condition of architecture at the end of the 20th century through conferences and ANY magazine, was also instrumental in the emergence of this new discourse. Eisenman has published his essays widely in journals, and his books have been translated into a number of languages.

Eisenman has taught at Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Ohio State universities, and at Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City. He has been a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects since 1981, and in 1994 was awarded the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2004 he received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Architecture at the Ninth Venice Biennale for architecture. Since 1968, Eisenman's work has been featured in more than 80 exhibitions internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1968), the CCA (1994), and more recently, the Museum for Industrial and Applied Arts in Vienna (2004-05).
Conditions governing access:
  • Most digital material in this fonds has not been processed and is not available for consultation. A small amount of digital material has been disk imaged and is available for consultation on-site only. Access by appointment only. Please contact Reference at ref@cca.qc.ca for more information.
Conditions governing reproduction:
  • Contact the CCA for copyright information and permission to reproduce (reproductions@cca.qc.ca).
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer:
  • Acquired between 1987 and 2006.
Custodial history:
  • CCA began assembling the archive in 1987. Before their transfer to CCA the records were stored at Peter Eisenman's office at 41 West 25th Street, New York and at a warehouse in Brooklyn.
Archivist's note:
  • The Peter Eisenman fonds was processed and described by James Viloria from 2007 to 2009, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, under the supervision of Howard Shubert, Curator, Prints and Drawings. Some previous cataloguing was completed by Kyle Whatley in 1995, Jean-François Bédard in 1996, Kevin Dandurand in 1999 and David Rose in 2001. The finding aid was edited by Alexis Lenk.
Credit line:
Peter Eisenman fonds
Collection Centre Canadien d'Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal

Language of material:
  • English
Other finding aids:
  • Consult a complete list of publications by and about Peter Eisenman from 1960 to 1999.

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