Part of:
  • Alvaro Siza (archive creator)





Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • 283 sketchbooks
Scope and content:
Series AP178.S2 consists of over 280 of Siza’s personal sketchbooks, beginning from the late 1970s to the beginning of the early 2000s. The sketchbooks mostly contain sketches with some notes and are numbered chronologically. Indicated on the front cover of each sketchbook are the sketchbook number and the architectural project(s) and/or the geographic site(s) documented by the sketches and notes. The sketchbooks are mostly black notebooks and measure 21 x 30 cm, with a few exceptions. Most sketchbooks contain notes in Portuguese while some also include French and English notes.

The sketchbooks document Siza’s creative process and demonstrate his unique method to comprehend an architectural project. Siza mentions that in the early stages of a project he immediately begins to draw, regardless of if he has knowledge of all the details and problems. The sketchbooks document the evolution of Siza's projects and also serve as a type of log. Not only does each sketchbook contain various sketches and notes for projects Siza was working on but also schedules, contacts, and drafts of letters. Among the sketches for projects are also general sketches of his travels, people, animals, objects, furniture, and at times landscapes. Most sketchbooks primarily contain sketches for projects with intermingled sketches of people or faces, however there are a number of sketchbooks that mostly contain sketches of people.

The Siza fonds is being processed in four phases. Up to date the sketchbooks that have been processed are ones that relate to architectural projects that were processed in the first and second phase of processing. This includes projects from 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s; urban planning projects; Reconstrução do Chiado; Berlin projects submitted to the IBA competition; and the Plano de urbanização Deelgebied 5 Schilderswijk-West in The Hague. However, it is important to note that the sketchbooks usually contain sketches related to multiple projects and therefore the sketchbooks that were processed also contain sketches related to projects not included in this list.
Reference number:


Material in this series was numbered by the office and has been kept in its original order.
Credit line:
When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
Álvaro Siza fonds, 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:
  • Portuguese
  • English
  • French

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