Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial Competition, Ottawa, Ontario
Part of:
  • Melvin Charney (architect)
  • Melvin Charney (archive creator)

Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial Competition, Ottawa, Ontario



Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • 0.18 l.m. of textual records
    132 photographic materials
    19 reprographic copies
    17 drawings
    3 ephemera
Scope and content:
The project series documents Melvin Charney's work for the design competition for the Royal Canadian Air Force Memorial (RCAF) at the National Air Force Museum of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. The project was identified by Charney as the MEMO Series. The competition called for the design of a building of “appropriate character” which would commemorate “the birth and growth of Canadian aviation”. The competition program was very specific, requesting a building on a predefined site, with rooms designed for specific activities.

MEMO was formally submitted by Charney and consisted of 91 pages of plans, designs, photographs and instructions on 335-5136 metric graph paper. Instead of constituting a true design for a building, MEMO consists of pages of memorandums intended for the organizers of the competition. The memos describe different ideas of how to conceptualize “the birth and growth of Canadian aviation”, as a critical response to what Charney saw as a “narrowness” in the competition’s vision. Charney referred to the idea of erecting a “singular building in an isolated part of the country” and considering it a memorial as being a “restrictive if not repressive act”.

Source: Montréal : Musée d’art contemporain. (1979) Melvin Charney: Oeuvres 1970-1979. (p. 14-17)
Reference number:



Material in this series was likely kept in it's original order when it was first processed upon it's arrival at CCA.
Language of material:
  • English, French

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