Álvaro Siza's archive is now free to browse online

CCA It All

Álvaro Siza's archive is now free to browse online

Álvaro Siza's archive is now free to browse online. Pictured here: Siza's Bonjour Tristesse, a Berlin social housing project built in the 1980s. (Georg Slickers/Wikimedia Commons)

The Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza donated his substantial personal archive in 2014. Now, the three institutions that jointly steward his work have made it possible to access it from anywhere in the world.

Two Portugese arts institutions, the Serralves Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, as well as Montreal’s Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), announced today that Siza’s oeuvre—drawings, models, sketchbooks, photographs, and letters—will be available on the CCA’s website beginning in February. When Siza donated his archive, it was, according to a press release, with a “desire that so many years of work can become useful in many ways, as a contribution to research and debate on architecture, particularly in Portugal and with a perspective opposed to isolation.”

Among 60,000 drawings, 500 models, and almost 300 sketchbooks, the online database will include entries for projects from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as materials related to the Bonjour Tristesse, the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, the Boa Nova Tea House, and other projects.

The emphasis of the collections at each institution is slightly different. The Serralves Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Siza collections are focused on the architect’s work in Portugal from 1958 to 2006, while the CCA’s holdings are international in scope, with work through today. Online, new material from all sources will be added gradually, though Siza’s future archival donations will be held by the CCA.